CD REVIEW: Sirens’ Song – Daughter of Ocean
By Ashley Petkovski - 01/26/2003 - 01:49 AM EST
Artist: Band: Sirens’ Song
Album: Daughter of Ocean
The ability to create a bond or an understanding with the audience is what makes a good band great. Be it through the lyrics or simply the passion of the delivery, the listening public can find that one line, that one moment on the record, to make their own. Sometimes, this is nearly impossible. In the case of Sirens’ Song, a band comprised of four Texans, each with a background in vocal music, another way to reach the audience is needed. Playing an uncommon style of music, melding classic and contemporary influences to produce slightly modernized traditional Celtic music and acoustic pop, Sirens’ Song don’t have enough lyrical impact to connect with a large audience. In this style, it’s easy to get lost in the actual delivery of the music, as opposed to the lyrical substance, so while their music itself is, for the most part, outstanding, their lyrics get lost in striking four part harmonies and traditional subject matter.
From their press materials alone, it was obvious that Sirens’ Song would not, in terms of vocal delivery, disappoint. Utilizing extensive musical backgrounds, Rikie Floyd, LeighAnn Heil, Marla Touchstone and Hilary Walton’s voices are all exquisite. Each with a different range and slightly different tonality, their voices contrast and complement each other, coming effortlessly forward on each individual track. Not only are they well suited to each other as singers, they sound as if they have fun working together, their natural chemistry coming through particularly on the tracks “Mountain Dew” and “Frog and Mouse,” lending the record an element of excitement and spontaneity. Strong vocal arrangements also retain prominence, allowing the harmonies to take lush, full shape around the melodies themselves, never sounding dull, never getting lost in the mix. Unfortunately, however, it is the instrumentation that tends to disappear under the layers of vocal production. The acoustic guitar tends to overpower the mandolin, viola and the softer percussion, letting up occasionally for a flourish of bright percussion.
As an entire album, “Daughter of Ocean” plays with effortless ease on the ears, the transition from song to song definite yet graceful. The arrangement and order of tracks makes “Daughter of Ocean” a seamless listen, and ultimately a very “together” album. However, when broken down, looked at song by song, “Daughter of Ocean” seems to be missing something. While it’s extremely pleasing as a casual listen, combining various stylistic elements and stellar vocal delivery, the songs on “Daughter of Ocean” don’t lend themselves to much lyrical variance. The themes and imagery of traditional music are the primary components, not really allowing for any particularly introspective or challenging lyrical work to come through. For me at least, a lot of the subject matter is somewhat difficult to relate to on a deeper level and, for the most part, fails to stand out.
“Daughter of Ocean” is more of a sonic gem than a lyrical masterpiece. A good record by a good band, “Daughter of Ocean” is an incredible vocal album, with a beautiful flow and effective melodies. However, Sirens’ Song needs to break one more of the conventions of traditional music in order to resonate with the listening public on a deeper level, and become a great band.
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