Updated: Mar 18, 2021
And it adds some gothic funk to the 70s glam racket
In 1979, the doyenne of dark tales of sex and seduction, Marianne Faithfull, made a comeback album called 'Broken English'. The closing track Why'd Ya Do It was so explicit in its description of an affair that workers at the pressing plant walked out in protest. There are certain bands and artists who operate at a pitch where simply listening to their songs feels illicitly thrilling, dangerous, sleazy and sexy. You could be doing the washing up but on hearing them it feels like you're clinking glasses with Charles Bukowski, drinking absinthe in a 1930s Berlin cabaret.
Faithfull of course delivers, along with Nico, The Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop, Serge Gainsbourg and Nick Cave.
The first Freya Beer song we heard was Dear Sweet Rosie which pairs an arresting vocal delivery (including a great gasp/groan combo) with 70s glam rock style backing - think Marc Bolan with John Bonham on drums.
On new release Siren she has added several new layers including a sheen of the glamour and danger mentioned above and we heartily approve. Taking its title from the painting by Pre-Raphaelite artist John Waterhouse, the track is also imbued with some of that movement's spiritual and romantic seriousness. (The group started out as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood - in a neat twist the single is released on Sisterhood Records).
The track opens with a sprechgesang verse worthy of Nick Cave (and also references a Lust for Life) before launching into a head-voice chorus which channels the mad energy of Tori Amos' Cornflake Girl. Driven on by similar powerhouse drumming to her previous singles, it also has some of their glam rock influences.
Where it builds on them is with a slightly funkier feel; and a laser-focused production which delivers a punishing low-end kick and sparingly used stabs of top notes which all serve the commanding vocal performance - think Patti Smith or St. Vincent.
Clocking in at 2:50 it doesn't outstay its welcome and more would not have gone amiss. There's an album promised for 2021 so we'll have to wait until then for, hopefully, more of the same. In the meantime I'm off to do the washing up and dream...
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