Loaded with a boisterous and captivating strain of alternative rock aligned to pop punk vivacity, The Row from Italian rockers Siren is a release which may not be driven by startling originality but thoroughly thrills and rewards just the same. Consisting of eleven tracks which hold a creative swagger and contagious presence, the release is a debut to wake up potent attention, if not one to inspire a shouting from the rooftops over the Pesaro quartet.
Siren was formed in 2013 by guitarist Jack Nardini and soon grew with the addition of drummer Mark “Spud” McKenzie, vocalist/guitarist Samuel Frondero, and Marcus Kawaka on bass and synths. There were also personal and creative connections between various members of the band, which it is fair to say has brought a unity which it is easy to suggest helps their sound come over tight and impassioned. The Row is their step into the fuller gaze of not only Italy but the world with its release via Red Cat Records, who Siren recently signed with. Around a year in the making, the release is a gripping temptation of thick hooks and fiery melodies all locked in rock ‘n’ roll carrying a broad smile to its character.
The album opens with Swan’s Tale, a track where we would be lying if we said it instantly roused the passions. Now it would be wrong to mistake this for a poor start to The Row as it is a compelling and intriguing entrance into the release, slowly entwining melodies with a classical seeding caressing ears as male and female vocals seduce whilst a military lilted rhythmic lure make its potent persuasion. The track is pleasing and accomplished but for some reason for personal tastes offers more than it delivers, only whetting the appetite with its symphonic teasing rather than igniting it. It also is deceitful, its presence very different to the sound and revelry which emerges straight away in the following Dr. Saint and subsequently across the album.
The second track swiftly strides with punchy beats and enticing riffs, a hard/alternative rock bounce and catchiness fuelling the following strides of bass and spicy hooks. Vocally too Frondero comes with a contagious persuasion and energy, backed as resourcefully by Nardini and Kawaka. It all combines for a virulent stomp, one with enough reserve to stop it turning into a riot but plenty of aggressive enterprise to make a rich and lingering impression. Its excellent incitement is matched by the equally fiery and excited Mission. Again hooks and melodies hold a mischief in their tenacity and infectiousness, thoughts of Super Happy Fun Club and at times Offspring coming forth.
Through the tantalising intrigue of sound and expression in Lonely Dance, the album leaps another step in irresistible adventure, stalking guitars and sinisterly toned vocals the prelude to an energetically seductive chorus, which in turn is linked to its next expulsion by a teasing of minimal but potent melodies across an anthemic stroll of rhythms. It is a gripping bait of sinew framed melodic rock which is followed by the not quite as striking Track ’92, such the power of its predecessor. The song though instantly inspires the imagination, its open glaze of enticement amidst a mellow breath offering a Blue Oyster Cult air which floats into a canvas of evocative melodies and an increasingly brewing uprising of raw riffs and passion drenched vocals. More a smoulder than a romp as earlier songs, it offers a relentless expectations fooling temptation from first listen until it too stands to the fore of the biggest highlights of the album over time.
Love Is Gone steals tops honours on the album though; it’s niggling riffs and beats from the first second swiftly complimented by a tangy new wave vocal taunting wrapped in wiry grooves. At times the song and its imaginative flirtation borders on insane though it, as the sounds, is honed into a riot of rock pop contagion which leaves a nagging and lingering impression.
The pair of Wave, with its XTC whisper, and Roger Sabbath cast less dramatic but easily as engrossing offerings, the first song a summer breeze rolling in on a muscular rhythmic shuffle with melodies as pungent as the vocal harmonies embedded within its warm charm, and the second a classic rock spiced canter, equipped with jabbing beats and exotically flowing keys. It is the gnarly basslines though which ultimately steal the passions, its snarl a great temper for the flames of melodies and increasingly impressing vocals. Though neither song can match the pinnacle of The Row, both leave appetite lustful for more and emotions happy to throw increasing praise on band and release. Carpet also falls into that richly satisfying category, though with its sneaky stroll and elegant charm of keys, the track creeping with the rascality and buoyancy of 12 Stone Toddler, it puts a further high peak in the album’s suasion.
The Row is completed by firstly the raw and brawling punk bred Spit, punchy keys and beats the bait to which anthemic tendencies in riffs and vocals dance an agitation tune. It is a glorious charge through ears, though once gaining submission it teases with a side step into a drama hued calm before erupting again into that great energetic bluster. It is succeeded by Falling Down, the closing song an exceptional tenacious waltz with jagged riffs, flaming melodies, and emotion soaked strings all adding to its spellbinding tapestry.
From a decent start, The Row proves to be an outstanding and eventful debut from Siren, at times living up to the band name. Is it bursting with something truly new, not really but if you want to know if it is an inescapably enjoyable encounter, of that there is no question.
The Row is available now via Red Cat Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/it/album/the-row/id926291276
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