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Siiiii – “Ancient” and “Modern”

18 Oct

Siiiii ancient coverI’ve heard lots of people saying “you were lucky to experience the 80’s…

I crack a smile cause they believe that living in the 80’s was fun. For sure it was an experience but mostly in a nostalgic sense. Certainly not as fun as they believe…Like many other people of my age, the 80’s carry a blurry reality of my youth.  Faces of people that you can’t fully describe, shadows, black and white photos…I am sure this last one could be “multi-colored photos of people in kitsch dresses” but… I’ve chosen the side that I always consider to be closer to reality.

A music scene of a black and white reality.

There is something so characteristic of this scene, no matter which country the artist comes from: there is a reverb effect to those recordings.  This effect gives you the feeling that anything the artist creates belongs to the past at once. It becomes a memory from the moment it is done.

Ok, I know that I just described the obvious but I can’t find any other effect doing that in music…

When I first played the Siiiii album “Ancient”, memories from the 80’s filled the room.  My memories have nothing to do with Sheffield where the band comes from though… But they were formed in 1983 and this CD is a collection of 13 unreleased tracks recorded between 1983-1986.

Most of them were recorded “in a leaky and damp rehearsal space on a 4 track Tascam Portastudio 144…the soundproofing and insulation consisted of old carpets nailed to the wall and cobwebs festooning the rafters”.

I closed the booklet of the CD thinking that I just read a description of one of the studios where my band used to rehearse…

They supported a number of well known bands of the scene in the 80’s, The March Violets, Inca Babies, Skeletal Family, The Chameleons (which was actually their first gig).

20 years after following their own separate ways, Ange Holmes (Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Piano, Violin), Wayne Furniss (Drums, Percussion), Mark Holmes (Guitar, Drums, Tape) and Paul Devine (Vocals, Drums, Harmonica) got together and compiled “Ancient” as a kind of historical archive of the time.  That same year, they played live in New York as well as a number of European cities…

Now, Siiiii return with a new album in 2014 and a live performance at Sacrosanct Festival.

The album is titled “Modern” and holds 16 songs.

“Ancient” had a black cover, “Modern” has a white cover.
So, do the differences begin even from the cover?

If “Ancient” was haunted by the blurry images of the past, in “Modern” Siiiii manage to leave aside the innocence of youth.  The band members grew up and know very well what they are doing.  In the 80’s they were just experimenting. Today they are sure of their sound.  So this is not a different band. It is a modern one…

On this album the band revisits four old songs to give them this “modern” touch…
The titles of these tracks: “Conception”, “Statue”, “Springheel’d Jack”, and “Dust”.

MODERN COVERThere are 12 more tracks here, aiming to satisfy those who were waiting for a new Siiiii release for all these years.

Their guitar sound became more mature and dreamy, the singer sounds more melodic and assured of himself (his voice reminds me sometimes of the turns of Brendan Perry’s), while the bass still provides a concrete spine for the rest of the band to play around it…

I left Wayne Furniss last cause he seems to be a very interesting drummer. He is either focused on playing some tribal rhythm or is being very minimal giving something very special to each tune…

After listening to both albums, I think I came up with the exact word I should use to characterize “Modern”: Mature.  I could also use the words: stable, sure, safe, atmospheric, artistic, sweet, bitter or whole.

You can order your copy of Ancient HERE and that of Modern HERE

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Goth, etc.

 

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