This review has been a long time coming. Little did I know when I purchased ‘A Long Way to Fall’, the 2013 debut album from Exeter-based band ‘Sound of The Sirens’ of which I made reference in my recent review of their 2015 EP ‘All We Have is Time’ that it would soon become one of my favourite albums of all time. If you missed that review, it’s available Here
I learned of Sound of The Sirens through an interview with Alex Gregory – another Exeter-based musician who performed in the local Richer Sounds store as part of record store day 2015. Sound of the sirens, (hereafter referred too as ‘The Sirens’ in the interests of reduced repetitiveness and wear on my keyboard) started out as a trio in 2005, releasing their first EP “It’s Me I’m Here” in 2010. In 2013 band member Lisa Eyre left to pursue a career as a teacher, leaving Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood to continue as a duo and release their debut album ‘A Long Way to Fall’.
A Long Way to Fall was recorded at Terry Britten’s State of The Ark Studios; a studio that has played host to acts such as London Grammar, Alan Parsons, Foster The People and Primal Scream among many others. The album features 9 tracks totalling a shade over 27 minutes, and is available digitally through most popular music stores, and as a download or in physical (CD) form from the Sirens website.
The album opens with the upbeat ‘the night before’ – a fast-paced, rhythmic number consisting of 2 guitars, a simple 2-part vocal harmony, and a tambourine; all underpinned by a kick drum rhythm. Despite the sharing of the vocals being, for the most part, equally balanced throughout the album, This is 1 of the few tracks where Hannah takes the lead displaying her exceptional vocal range with full force. The songs lyrics are painfully honest, telling the tale of a failed relationship descending into jealousy with perhaps elements of spite.
Next up, ‘In This Time’ begins with a single guitar and a small call and response section, before the rhythm kicks in (complimented by Abbe’s mandolin). The track then goes full throttle, bace with some crowd cheers and applause emerging subtly from the background.
Skipping ahead slightly to my 2 favourite tracks on the album ‘Up to The House’ and ‘The Gift’. These tracks both feature solo and harmony vocals which are breathtakingly beautiful. The gift begins with an acapella intro which at first reminded me of the introduction to Paramore’s track ’Now’ from their live self-titled tour set. Repeated plays reveal that the 2 introductions do, in fact, bear very little similarity.
The gift also features a phenomenal, spine-chilling lead vocal from Abbe, and the sudden change of tempo shows just how quickly the Sirens can take things up a notch. I’ll warn you now; you will turn this track up, and you’ll turn it up loud. It’s completely irresistible.
Lyrically, the album explores a few themes,; mostly failed relationships, self-belief, acceptance, hope and achievement. It’s dark in places, yet extremely uplifting and real. The lyrics leave room for interpretation making them truly relatable. I also loved the call and response sections.
As I said in the introduction, this review has been a long time coming. It’s been 2 years since the release of A Long Way to Fall. A lot has happened since then; not least the release of a further 2 EPs from the Sirens, including the aforementioned All We Have is Time which I described as “phenomenally good”. And the same goes for a Long Way to Fall. It’s an uplifting, soul-stirring musical masterpiece, and you owe it to yourself to grab a copy and give it a listen. It’s available as a digital download via Amazon UK or iTunes or in digital or physical form via the Sound of The Sirens website.