The Langley Sisters – Sirens EP (Piano Wolf)

Langley Sisters Sirens

The Langley Sisters are, you may be surprised to hear, sisters, three of them; Gita, Rosie and Edie and they’ve been singing together, as one might expect, since they were children.

This EP opens with The Arsonist’s Daughter which begins with an American cattle drive style rhythm and Mariachi trumpets, the sisters’ harmony a rich, soulful compliment to the fluttering piano line and portentous strings. What works best about their combined voices is their storytelling ability, as they sing ‘When she raised her hands, the flames rose higher’, you practically feel the temperature increase, all the insistency and urgency is there in their delivery, with each sister having their moment in the spotlight vocally. Their voices at times a little Grace Jones at others practically purring like Eartha Kitt, then sweet and comforting as they coo the title.

Sing For My Supper has a gutter fairytale vibe, the backing vocals are particularly Danny Elfman whilst the tracks lolloping brass notes and wandering piano float through grubby alleyways made magical by their voices coming together in eerie, ethereal harmony. ‘Sing for your supper,’ is the recurring lyric, and the sisters come across like a mystical Greek chorus for an imaginary spin on Oliver Twist.

Next up is a jaunty banjo and double-bass driven cover of Queens of the Stone Age‘s No One Knows, it’s buoyant and jovial, but compared to the majesty and passion of the previous two songs there’s something a little ‘easy’ about this cover that means it sounds absolutely fine but feels totally frivolous.

It feels even more like a frippery once the filthy swagger of Tolita kicks in moments later, laidback and dripping with atmosphere, their voices like light piercing through a dark, smoke filled bar, guitar squalling ominously around and, indeed, they sound like the record’s titular sirens, their voices coming out of the mist. ‘She was just a little girl, with dreams like you and I,’ they pine, ‘dealt a heavy hand, and thrown into the fire.’ It has the richly constructed heartbreak of early Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, carefully, slowly grumbling along building its mood and sinking its claws into your skin; the string line peeking out with particularly sinister skill. It builds towards a dischordant collapse, that fakes out before the same bittersweet refrain pipes up one last time, defiantly marching on, as the sisters call of ‘Hold on’ leaves you feeling battered, bruised but optimistic.

A gorgeous EP, balancing light and dark beautifully to grab the listener and draw them in to evocative and dangerous songs that stir the soul. Admittedly the cover version is fun, but throwaway (perhaps more of a bonus track), however it doesn’t dampen the success of this brilliant record.


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