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Nine Black Alps - Sirens (Album Review)

Tuesday, 09 October 2012 Written by Ben Bland
Nine Black Alps - Sirens (Album Review)

You could be forgiven for not noticing when Nine Black Alps slid off the radar a couple of years back. After all, it is now a good seven years since the band first threatened to make the big time. 2005ís 'Everything Is' came at a time when British rock had just failed to make a return to the big time. Biffy Clyro were digging roads to make ends meet, Hell is for Heroes and Hundred Reasons were struggling to recover from difficult second albums, and Frank Turner was still just Ďthat bloke in Million Deadí. Oh, and Feeder were set to headline Download...but only after releasing a big selling album of sub-par Coldplay balladry.

ImageAs such, it is perhaps hardly a surprise that the Manchester band, over the course of the following four years, sunk almost without a trace from the national alternative music consciousness. The minor hits of 2005 were replaced with being dropped from Island, and finding themselves abandoned in the wastelands of tiresome self-promotion. Now though things might just change. 'Sirens', the bandís first since 2009, is being released on one of the finest up and coming labels in the land (Brew), and it is also probably the finest record the band have produced since their (now largely forgotten) debut.

Realistically Nine Black Alps are never going to claim the success they may yearn for, but they should find their profile back on the rise with this album. Itís full of the post-grunge anthemic qualities that were initially the bandís musical motif, and largely steers away from being too trite or formulaic. Largely this is down to a more varied than ever songwriting technique. Many of the tracks present here are short and straight to the point, but rarely feel like they have yet to live up to their potential when they come crashing to a conclusion. When the band do decide to spread their wings a little, however, they come up with dreamy lullabies such as the gorgeous 'Phosphorescence'. Of particular note may be the performance of frontman Sam Forrest, whose vocals are more dynamic than ever they were.

Unfortunately, 'Sirens' is slightly too inconsistent to make the impact it perhaps should. For all the sneering excellence of the likes of 'Donít Forget to Breathe', 'Sirens' has dropped off somewhat by the time it comes to an end. The closing pair of 'What You Wanted' and 'Another World', in particular, fail to make much of an impact at all. As such, this album is perhaps not quite everything it should be. Certainly it is a worthy enough return, but its inconsistent nature arguably proves more than ever why Nine Black Alps fell during their initial ascent towards the British rock ground. As before, Nine Black Alps are good but far from essential.

'Sirens' is out on Monday via Brew Records. Nine Black Alps tour the UK with Castrovalva next week.

Nine Black Alps UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed October 10th 2012 - King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Thu October 11th 2012 - York Duchess, York
Sat October 13th 2012 - Bodega Social, Nottingham
Sun October 14th 2012 - Joiners, Southampton
Mon October 15th 2012 - Borderline, London
Tue October 16th 2012 - Green Door Store, Brighton
Wed October 17th 2012 - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
Thu October 18th 2012 - The Cooler, Bristol
Fri October 19th 2012 - Ruby Lounge, Manchester

Click Here to Compare & Buy Nine Black Alps Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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