Future Garage

Sirens – Get Me Home

Sirens – Get Me Home by Sirens-Official

Those who remember Newcastle-based girl-band Sirens’ minor 2004 hit single “Baby (Off The Wall)” would be forgiven for thinking that they had fallen the wayside of that year’s other short-lived pop acts V, the 411, and VS, and retreated back into obscurity. But even though they remain complete unknowns in their home country, the trio who once featured Liberty X’s Michelle Heaton in their lineup have inadvertently become one of the U.K.’s most successful pop exports in the Far East, as well as scoring a Billboard Dance hit thanks to the use of their music on reality shows like Laguna Beach and The Real O.C. Released through indie label Kitchenware, usually home to guitar bands such as Editors and Prefab Sprout, the bizarrely titled Opium Apathy is, surprisingly, their third album release. But following the sassy R&B of 2004’s Control Freaks and 2008’s Say Goodbye to La La Land, the majority of its ten tracks, produced by DeeKay (P. Diddy, Sugababes) and New Yorker Eric Sanicola focus on a more club-friendly electro-pop sound not exactly a million miles away from Lady Gaga. Indeed, the apt sirens on opening track “Don’t Let Go” appear to have been lifted from the pop icon’s debut chart-topper “Just Dance,” while the thumping beats, pounding basslines, and wailing synths of the attitude-laden “Stilettos” rivals Cascada’s “Evacuate the Dancefloor” for the title of most blatantly obvious Gaga pastiche. It’s a derivativeness which unfortunately runs throughout the album, and while the likes of the fuzzy, synth-led “Good Enough,” the Hi-NRG cover version of Kelis’ “Bossy,” and the squelchy techno of “I Couldn’t Love You,” are perfectly serviceable dance-pop floor-fillers, they suffer from the same problem that swamped fellow girl group Sugababes’ last effort, in that their production is so formulaic and so Auto-Tuned, they could have been recorded by literally anybody. Sirens only start to stand out from the crowd when they retreat back to their more familiar signature sound, such as on “Murda,” whose snake-like, acidic bassline, ragga-fused guest MC vocals and languid hip-hop beats provide the perfect backdrop for their sultry TLC-esque tones, clattering R&B ballad “Headlines,” and best of all, closing number “Disco Sirens,” a funky old-school collaboration with Skint Records’ Midfield General which sounds like Princess Superstar covering Grandmaster Flash. But overall, Opium Apathy is far too concerned with following the pack than leading the way, which considering their D.I.Y. ethics is a disappointing state of affairs, and one which is unlikely to give them the U.K. breakthrough they so understandably desire. ~ Jon O’Brien, Rovi

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