Music lovers cringe when a band they’ve loved for years catastrophically destroys its sound and style by releasing a dreadful attempt at true art. One example is The Avett Brothers, who released classic banjo pluckin’ songs like Will You Return and Die Die Die on their folk masterpiece Emotionalism but later released folktonica trash The Carpenter. Go focus on your career as Gap models already. Full time. Please. And now it pains me to say that Mumford & Sons sound like an amateur mix of Coldplay and a bad Kings of Leon. 99 percent of the time, going electric or adding a fuller sound to the original vibe that attracted new fans doesn’t work at all. However, The Weepies fall into that rare one percent and stun their fans with an outstanding louder, electric sound on their latest release Sirens. Husband and wife duo Deb Talan and Steve Tannen possess a magical recording artist style that spans raw, acoustic magic to louder, poppy gems.
The album kicks off with the spooky yet enchanting River From The Sky, which contains masterpiece vocal takes and intriguing lyrics that relate to the anticipation of the album. They sing in ascending harmony, “Time’s a river so they say, and then you drown” creating light rainfall that foreshadows the “heavy storm” of the full album. A lot of the songs are fast-paced and highly energized and mirror the pounding pitter patter of rain droplets “about to cry like a river from the sky.”
No Trouble presents the first taste of a more rock and roll Weepies sound on this record, as staccato keyboards and an animated drumbeat drive the song. The title track is one of the softer songs on the album but hypnotizes listeners and transports my unwinding, barely conscious mind to the clouds.
Track four – Tom Petty’s Learning To Fly – is the first ever Weepies cover that appears on a studio release. The next song, Never Let You Down, lives on the pulse of a thumping bass line, rocking drumbeat, and the remarkable pop positivity of a simple ascending “oh oh oh oh” melody that is my most treasured Weepies hook within their whole catalogue.
The next two songs revert back to the classic, gentle Weepies. Wild Boy and Ever Said Goodbye are two beautiful, ear-cleansing songs that belong on the sleep playlist of any music lover. Wild Boy contains a bouncing drumbeat and subtle xylophone notes that make the chorus of the song even more notable. Ever Said Goodbye has a more energetic beat and is a perfect study of Deb and Steve harmonies, as their stellar vocals are surely the highlight of the song.
Fancy Things, a short poppy tune that sits at the halfway mark of the album, provides an interesting new Weepies sound as Deb’s vocals are embellished with a distorted megaphone effect. For the next song, listeners are sent soaring to their most desired tropical paradise as the horns and fast paced rhythm in Early Morning Riser continue the pattern of an innovative Weepies effort.
The last six songs of the album define the term deep tracks, as Deb and Steve produce an extraordinary finish to an already breakout sound on Sirens. The calming tones of the violin complement Steve’s lead vocals and acoustic chords on Crooked Smile. Observant fans may notice a sharp resemblance between the bright, jumpy Brand New Pair of Wings and All That I Want, the second track from the debut Weepies album. Does Not Bear Repeating is the most hidden gem on the record, and with genius chorus melodies the title contradicts how fans will truly react as this song must bear several repeats before finishing the album.
My Little Love presents another beautiful Weepies study of vocal harmonies and simple chord progressions. The chemistry Deb and Steve have is an inimitable bond that blesses this genre of music with a profound presence and never ending excitement. They close the record with Volunteer, an acoustic Steve lead, and since a majority of the songs at the end of Sirens contain the original acoustic Weepies vibe, maybe they won’t balance out their initial style with louder, electric songs on the follow up to Sirens. I already need the next record and whatever mix of genres they choose I know it will be another great success. Weepies aficionados were amazed by the upbeat home run of Be My Thrill, but Sirens, their most inspiring and captivating release to date, is a monstrous grand slam.
Scott J. Herman