The Siren Tower

A History Of Houses

Firestarter Distribution (2012)
Από τον Χρήστο Καραδημήτρη, 15/03/2013
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What can really be classified as underground music nowadays? Given the nature of the Internet, underground has become more of an artistic mentality than a state of being or mean of sharing music. Additionally, it is not uncommon for a band to represent a more approachable or even mainstream genre of music and yet still be classified as underground. That is the main notion we, as a site, use in order to present each year's most stand-out underground releases, and that list is where The Siren Tower's latest effort would definitely win gold, however "A History Of Houses" is too good to waitl until December.

Down Under

Not too many people have  appreciated the Australian wave of modern rock that has slowly been oozing into the scene, incorporating a really distinguished sound that cleverly incorporates alternative rock stylings with subtle elements of a more progressive nature. Bands like Karnivool, The Dead Letter Circus, THe Butterfly Effect and The Getaway Plan are a prime example of how active this particular scene is, which now proudly includes, the slightly more more folk-orientated, The Siren Tower, who however do diversify themselves from the aforementioned bands, as they can be regarded as a folksier version of Crippled Black Phoenix without the chaotic soundspaces and the Pink Floyd references.

The Producer

Forrester Savelll, the man behind the buttons and knobs, can be seen as one of the most essential elements of the Australian modern rock scene, as he has produced a great number of top notch releases down under and is regarded as one of the best -not to say THE best- in this specific genre, worldwide. As expected, Savelll's work in "A History Of Houses" is exceptional, as every single aspect and detail of the songs are clearly broadcasted to the listener, without a hint of anything going unnoticed. This all can be evident in "I Could Tell You Things That Would Break Your Heart", where elements of folk, post-rock and free jazz come together in a truly impressive way.

The Music

Most of the tracks incorporate acoustic guitars, low-tempo beats and heartfelt vocals accompanied by interesting harmonies, whereas Grant McCulloch's heavy accent is an interesting and diverse contribution to the overall feeling of the album whilst being a constant reminder of the band's origin. Prime example of this is the way the word tonight is intonated and the album's first single, "The Banishing Of William McGuiness", which is one of the rare occurrences where a low-tempo song is chosen for an album opener, although what it lacks in speed it makes up with charm. The following track, "Floods", is probably the most upbeat moment on the record, along with tracks "All Thing Will Change" and "For The Common Stock", which comprise the most stand-out tracks of their effort. Not that there are tracks that could be considered fillers, on the contrary, "A History Of Houses" is packed with little magical moments.

The Words

Genres like the one represented by The Siren Tower are heavily dependent on the lyrical quality of its content, and "A History Of Houses" is an interesting collection of beautiful, yet heart-breaking, stories. Some people say you forget what you've got, take time to breathe, you can learn quite a lot, McGullogh gently suggest in "For The Common Stock", and he is far from wrong. Certain tracks feature narratives from days gone by, and others just let the title do all the talking, like "I Could Tell You Things That Would Break Your Heart" and "One More Drink Than Needed". The well-written words and the general admirable lyricism of this effort really gives an overall boost in quality of this album.


When I reach the point of coming up with a final verdict for albums such as "A History Of Houses", I always seem to resort to identifying the feel and soul within them, which obviously varies from listener to listener. It might be the general heartfelt and somehow depressing concepts that I identify with, but I got the same vibes from J.R. Richards and Ray Wilson's latest albums too, and mostly from Crippled Black Phoenix's "The Resurrectionists". "A History Of Houses" can easily be set aside to these great albums, and all I can say is that I hope we can get a lot more from these guys in the future.