The Standards: Sirens – album review
Bangkok based rockers The Standards release their new album as a free download. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates listens.
The Standards? No, me neither. But you will.
The Standards are anything but what their name suggests. They make noises, big noises, the sort of noises that musical instruments were made for. In their own words they make “songs to dance to, songs to fight to, songs to fuck to”. I’m not arguing.
The Standards are a five piece based in Bangkok, four blokes and one gal. Their music is loud, yes, their music could fill theatres the length and breadth of our fair nation too. They manically force themselves into the gap between 80s pop, 90s Indie and the power of Rock ‘n’ Roll; and what a gorgeous sound they make.
The Standards can write a tune or two (well, nine on Sirens to be exact) too, whether it be from the screaming opener Blood Will Rise beginning slowly and soon erupting into a musical ear orgasm with sirens (of course) and echoes and belting guitars and drums, or to the instant pop appeal of current single Where You Go with sing-along strapline. You’d think they’d been around for years such is the standard (sorry) of the stuff on show here.
The Standards make songs capable of becoming anthems in arenas. They’re huge in sound and bellow out like nothing you have heard for ages. Guitars rip and voices soar. Drums pound and choruses flow with ease. Keyboards weave in and out of thumping basslines. The title track is a prime example.
The Standards seem to have the knack of adopting various styles too. Take Politics with its punk / PiL vocals and guitar work, or the sexy rhythm and blues emptiness of PPPeople complete with soundbytes and spoken vocals.
I like The Standards a lot, and you will too, for they have given us one of the finest albums of 2013.
And, if that wasn’t enough, vocalist Matt Smith has lent his vocals to a truly brilliant reworking of Peter Gabriel’s Don’t Give Up. The words are spoken over an apocalyptical electronic background which paces itself beautifully whilst the words are almost given new meaning. The vocals are almost made for the track and I’m sure Mr Gabriel would approve wholeheartedly, and like Sirens, it’s also free to download.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.