ALBUM REVIEW: Sons Of Bill "Sirens"

Sons Of Bill, whose members hail from the great state of Virginia, are back in top form after a long, long wait with the new album "Sirens." After the American gem "Far Cry From Freedom" and the even better "One Town Away" brought the band critical and commercial acclaim (read review by clicking here), "Sirens" proves to be a worthy follow up and definitely worth the wait.
The album begins with the lead single "Santa Ana Winds." Immediately, it is clear that producer and Cracker frontman David Lowery worked with the band to carefully craft its new, more contemporary sound that takes the group's successful Americana sensibilities and mixes it with alt rock fervor. Surprisingly, it works. The lyrics are interesting, and the instrumentation and melodic chorus are compelling. "Santa Ana Winds" deserves to be a great big, multi-genre hit, and the supporting video (watch below) should help on this front.

The thoughtful "Find My Way Back Home" highlights the band's pitch perfect vocal harmonies, and the toe-tapping chorus is infectious. The pace and intensity of the next cut "Siren Song" is reminiscent of today's best pop and country offerings. Indeed, "Siren Song" provides compelling evidence that Top 40 radio could be a second home for the Sons Of Bill. "Siren Song" should be released as a single and deserves to find much success.

The band's namesake Bill Wilson will probably be more comfortable with the traditional "Angry Eyes" that has a dark but intensely interesting story line. Once again, the Sons Of Bill's melodic sensibilities are on full display.

The quiet retro track "The Tree" is the album's biggest surprise. The punctuated lyrics and nuanced vocal performance is both mesmerizing and pleasingly perplexing. "Turn It Up" has much of the same charm.

A celebration of a ruined life has never sounded better than "Life In Shambles," which seems to revel in the subject's misery with great effect. The band's advice: "Take a shower, call your mom, you ain't living like you should." However, "The Losing Fight" returns to the band's new sound, and the vocal performance mixes diverse elements reminiscent of both Bryan Adams and Steve Earle.

Americana music fans will enjoy the reflective "Radio Can't Rewind," but it is "Last Call At The Eschaton" that emerges as the album's best cut. The intense vocals and subdued instrumentation slowly builds to a chorus that offers pure melodic bliss. Finally, the country tinged "Virginia Calling" offers a tribute to the state the band calls home. The song is also the purest example of country music on the album.

"Sirens" turns out to be the perfect title of an album that announces the Sons Of Bill to a new audience with a bold and inescapably interesting musical perspective. While the musicality and lyrical intentions present on the previous albums "Far Cry From Freedom"  and "One Town Away" are different than "Sirens," a clear musical progression is readily evident. Yes, "Sirens" is different, but it is a masterful musical work. At the same time, it's clear that the Sons Of Bill are the same down to earth, good ol' boys that have made Bill Wilson proud since the day they were born.