Me and house music don’t get on. I’m too pale to wear a vest, too sensible to get an undercut and to be quite honest the thought of going to a club that plays it fills me with the kind dread experienced only on the few occasions I tried to navigate a student party whilst at uni. I even tried to see Disclosure at Leeds Festival, on the promise that they would be a highlight. Truth be told the crowd was horrible, the sound was horrible and no amount of intoxication would make me endure that again. Though this isn’t the fault of house music (or any of its more radio-friendly variations), you can’t blame a genre for the fact a vast majority of its fans fall somewhere between Jay from The Inbetweeners and Bernard Manning, and it’s for that reason that I went in to Gorgon City‘s debut with an open mind, if not somewhat low expectations.
Opener ‘Coming Home’ was a pleasant surprise; sleek production, a recognisable hook, deep bass, an unassuming but otherwise inoffensive track that would certainly have a place in clubs and at festivals. Single ‘Ready Your Love’ is Disclosure all over, and, given both acts propensity for garage-tinged house-pop and collaborating with contemporary vocalists, the whole record is very similar. Only, as we find out later, somewhat thinner.
At first, the production over the course of the record is sharp, sleek and is certainly danceable, the problem starts when you begin to realise that the vocalists, as a rule, are undermined by the production, rarely finding themselves with room enough to reach their full potential. And we’re not talking small names here either.
Katy B, Maverick Sabre, and Yasmin all feature across Sirens, yet only Sabre seems really able to bring anything real to the table. Opening with the aforementioned ‘Coming Home’ and closing out the record with ‘Hard On Me’; a brooding and understated track built around piano and haunting vocal harmony. A further highlight is early track ‘FTPA’ featuring Erik Hassle, a seedy and somewhat claustrophobic take on Peaches‘ ‘Fuck the Pain Away’. What’s most interesting is the tracks which stand out most are those which don’t immediately jump out at you; those with personality and something more than an EDM beat.
I can see why people would like this record, I really can. It’s big, it’s danceable, and there are certain moments of it which stand head and shoulders above their contemporaries, suggesting definite talent from the duo behind the moniker. I’m just glad I’m not one of those people. It’s an album made for the beaches of Ibiza and awful university clubs; made for girls in little more than an oddly appropriated bindi to dance to and for be-vested blokes to gurn to. I was made for Manchester; for its dingy bars and Morrissey‘s miserabilia. I told you me and house music don’t get on.
Sirens was released on 6th October 2014 via Black Butter Records