SIRENS OF LESBOS – SOL (Featured in Dummy Mag, Musikexpress, Loud and Quiet, Hype Machine, Pan-African…)
Gilles Peterson: “This album is great!” Loud and Quiet Magazine: “This dynamic debut presents endless promise and potential in Sirens Of Lesbos’ artistry – a striking debut LP.“ (8/10) Dummy: “Perfectly formed.”Pan African Music: “Le quintet suisse Sirens of Lesbos cultive un melting-pot d’influences dans un premier album intitulé SOL.“ Hype Machine: “Featured album.” BBC Radio 1 / Jamz Supernova: “Is a vibe.
‘SOL’, the debut 12-track album from Swiss-born five-piece Sirens Of Lesbos, marks the final culmination of a radical transformation – taking the group from writing a major label signed Ibiza club hit to becoming a fully-realised band, with the songs to back it and a host of fans from Worldwide FM to Beats 1, BBC Radio 6 Music to KCRW.
Their worldbeat sound has always reflected the diverse musical tastes and personal histories of the band: producers Melvyn Buss and Arci Friede, co-producers and vocalist sisters Jasmina and Nabyla Serag and Denise Häberli, the group’s art director.
But ‘SOL’ (an abbreviation of Sirens Of Lesbos, alongside being the Spanish word for ‘sun’) is the most explicit joining of these dots yet, linking an electronic music past with a love of hip-hop’s myriad forms, from the Fugees and Mos Def to J.I.D and Rosalia, and an equal love of soul, jazz and rock legends such as Archie Shepp and Fleetwood Mac.
This distinctive blend was spotted by Christo, producer of J. Cole, Earthgang, Mac Miller and J.I.D, who hit the band up on Instagram in 2018 about collaborating. He co-produces album opener ‘Tired Introlude’ – a cut of woozy psychedelic soul like Rotary Connection on lean, the Serag sisters reduced down to breathy exultations. It’s a sign of the band’s intent, drawing the past into the present and vice versa.
‘Birds’ employs a dembow rhythm over deep sub, nodding to a love of Latinx music, completing its hooky chorus with Sirens’ first use of autotune, while the reggae-skank of ‘Two-Faced’ comes with the burn: “You’ll need double the toothpaste, ‘cos you’re two-faced.”
Then ‘Cobra’, a parable about how things always follow their true nature, shifts back toward slow disco and blue-eyed soul, as does torch song ‘When I’m Down’.
A mid-album skit, echoing classic hip-hop albums of the ages, announces the album’s two big singles. The Aldous Huxley-inspired ‘Pala’ imagines a utopian future over its krautrock beat and tropical synths, before ‘How Many Miles’, which clocked up 300k streams in its first two months of release, revels in glorious yacht rock piano and harmonies.
London-based vocalist Theodor Black, one of Dummy’s 20 Most Exciting Artists For 2020, guests on the shuffling ‘Palm Trees’, its blissed-out vintage soul transported to the present by his auto-tuned voice, apt for a song about reincarnation.
Then on second Christo co-production ’Like Some Dream’, prodigious talent J.I.D lends his vocal weight. Performing a sensuous downbeat duet backed by plaintive strings, it reveals a softer side to the celebrated East Atlanta rapper.
‘Surge (Interlude)’ is Christo’s final co-sign, Grammy Award-winning duo Ric & Thadeus, Thadeus joining in for a jazz-funk jam that draws another line in the historical sand – part Sun Ra cosmic musing, part near namesakes Sa-Ra Creative Partners electronic funk.
‘I Know It Will End (Outro)’ sets the sun on ‘SOL’, a haze of guitar and ghostly gossamer voices dissolving into stoned drums and a declaration of finality. It’s the end of the album, but just the beginning for Sirens Of Lesbos.