Seemingly running out of steam just as they were to make big waves, Manchunian post-grungers Nine Black Alps and their sudden decline makes for a rather woeful tale indeed. Once delighting audiences with a viserally upbeat take on early nineties rock, the injection of some largely unnecessary pop sensibilities and a mainstream edge saw their fire wane somewhat. ‘Sirens’ proves to be testament to that persistantly missing fire.
Although wholly inoffensive and perhaps to some passably tuneful, so much of this release is so unforgivably uninspired and formulaic that it is difficult to see how anyone could label it anything other than forgettable. All too often tracks such as ‘Find It My Own Way’ and limp opener ‘Be My Girl’ chew on an endlessly repeating chorus which quickly becomes a hugely tedious loop of sterile melodies. The constantly predictable structures also becomes a issue; the band operating entirely on cruise control with the blatant Nirvana-isms of ‘Living In A Dream’ and a clumsy ‘Hand Me Down’.
Some brief glimpses of the band’s former spark do surface however, an all the more darker ambience with ‘Phosphoresence’ and its steady, measured approach and the undeniably hefty riff work of ‘Don’t Forget To Breathe’ are as stirring as it gets here, with some surprising flashes of energy, passion and straight forward fun amongst the drudgery.
Nine Black Alps have delivered in ‘Sirens’ a hugely frustrating release. Providing minimal evidence of a bleaker, and infinitely more intriguing, side lurking somewhere beneath the vapid pop topping, the band are going to have to dig much deeper if they’re going to grasp former glories once again. If they continue to refuse a re-invention, the future is looking horribly grim.
Written by Tony Bliss