SirenBlue – Same But Different – Album Review
I’ve been stoked to come back & tell ya about SirenBlue’s new album Same But Different ever since I got a taste of what they were cookin’ up with the advance single “Every Other Weekend,” just a couple weeks ago when I was reviewing it here at the homepage & having the band’s sizzlin’ Alt/Rock up on our pages again for the first time since being introduced to them in 2020 through their single called “Too Deep.” The best way I can put it to ya…my overall opinion of this band & what they do that is…is that there are many of you out there that keep me awake at night wondering how in the heck you’re gonna get to that next record or single without imploding or sliding backwards…and SirenBlue ain’t one of’em. From the very get-go and hearing them for the first time, to discovering what they’ve accomplished on this extraordinary new record Same But Different, SirenBlue has demonstrated complete and total professionalism, supreme confidence, tremendous skill, and wildly substantial material that connects – I suppose what I’m tellin’ ya is, a band like this doesn’t worry me at all – they’ll get to where they wanna go with the material they have & a little elbow grease. Success, however they wanna define it, is in the cards for SirenBlue – think of it this way – if this is just their second record in as many years – how AMAZING are they GONNA become over time? I’m just sayin’ – most bands don’t start out sounding like they’ve dominated the game for years & years – I know precious little about the DNA of SirenBlue in terms of who they are or how they got here…but what I can tell ya is this – if they keep all this up, they’re definitely going to be around for a while. Most of ya out there will have no problem at all loving this album from its start to its end – and if you don’t think that’s a remarkable accomplishment this early on into their career, give your head a shake or two friend-o – to crack the bat as hard as SirenBlue has on this album…it proves how rare they truly are.
The attention to detail you’ll find running throughout Same But Different is straight-up award-worthy stuff – and they deserve a ton of credit for that. After a healthy spin through this record, it felt like everything you’ll hear from the performance to the production, and the very layout of the flow of the set-list…it’s all been considered to the nth degree, and they’ve gone about doin’ this whole thing right as right can be as far as my ears are concerned. It was the little things I noticed in “Give It Away” at the beginning, despite what’s undeniably a very catchy verse & chorus…in kind of knowing a little bit about what SirenBlue is like & what they’re capable of from what I’ve heard in the past, it became the smaller details like the addition of the piano melody as “Give It Away” began, or the guitar noodlin’ just past that first minute & chorus…there’s brilliantly understated stuff happening underneath its slick surface of sparkling, evocative Alt/Rock – and they’re the kind of details you can’t miss out on – so don’t! The closer you pay attention to the background of SirenBlue, the more you’ll find to love within the sonic depth of this band, promise ya that. I fully expect that the stunning vocals they’ve got will make an impact on ya as they slide right into the thick of this song…that the design of the guitars and how clever they’re played throughout the chorus, and the stellar solo will all stand out to ya – these are attributes of SirenBlue that have always been remarkably consistent & engaging, and they live up to their standard of quality right from the drop of track one on their new record. It’s probably fair to say that you get a glimpse of what SirenBlue will go on to supply your speakers with throughout the course of this album, but they don’t “Give It Away” all in one shot either. Like I was tellin’ ya…they’ve considered layout here, and you can hear that – “Give It Away” doesn’t at all play out like an intro-track, though it will introduce the sound of SirenBlue to many of you out there listening – they sound committed right from the very start with a compelling cut that hits the mark & satisfies…but that being said, they’ll go on to amaze ya with what they can accomplish throughout the set as it plays on; it builds more strength as it continues.
What can I say other than I’m a complete sucker for the pepped-up melodic vibes you hear spring to life instantly on “Happy Song” – I ain’t gonna lie, I’m 100% all about this tune. Bulletproof songwriting in this cut without question – SirenBlue comes out bursting with brightness & controlled energy, harnessed with professional precision that is essentially as flawless as flawless can be. They’re executin’ here y’all! All-around, “Happy Song” is a very smart to have included so earlier on within the lineup of Same But Different – it’s built to catch your attention, and there’s not an ounce of it that doesn’t accomplish that goal. Sparkling & shining like the gem it is, you get that tiny addition of just a lil’ bit more melody to enjoy before it’s all over as well, which was like the final cherry on top of this tune by that point. To me, the difference between the mass-appeal within their opening track and the second one is arguably an entire country mile…they put quality hooks out there on “Give It Away” – don’t get me wrong…but they weren’t THIS. “Happy Song” is the kind of track where I could tell ya all kinds of incredible things about it, and every single one of you reading that has heard the song would be like, ‘yeah – duh’ – because there’s just that much clear universal appeal in a song like this that it practically doesn’t even need to be said. I also think this was a really good move to have “Happy Song” up this far into the lineup as well, because this particular song separates them a lot from what I’m sure is always going to be an endless comparison to Garbage…you’ll still get a piece of that in most of what they do, this song included – but for the most-part, SirenBlue is flexing a much different gear here…and kind of like…seriously blossoming with expressive, beautiful, and sweet sound at the heart of it all. Take THAT doom & gloom! Look – the reality is, you’re always going to find an array of emotions and clever contrast in what SirenBlue creates, track after track, they’ll reveal that to you in every single tune you’ll find in some way, shape, or form – just so happens that on “Happy Song,” we find them in that implied happier & celebratory gear – and I’d suspect that, anyone that’s heard them in the past, will be just as pleasantly surprised as I was with this cut. It might not be the most representative of the band’s overall vibe – that’s probably fair to say to a degree…like I said, it’s one dominant emotion out of a whole palette of colors they create with – but by that same token, it’s not like you wouldn’t know you’re listening to SirenBlue…they maintain their identity here & their moody street-cred is still gonna stay intact – I’d be looking at this as a single, 100%.
Let’s give’em all a well-earned round of applause shall we? SirenBlue makes it clear they’ve got content by the time you dig into the consistency of the first three cuts and the immediate impact they make on ya through versatility & variety. “Safe” is a sensationally sincere cut on Same But Different that’s got a whole ton of heart in the mix, a switch-up in the vocal department that works extremely well, and songwriting that can’t seem to help but impress. You get a slight…like…Collective Soul-esque vibe through the writing…not the peppy over-the-top guitar-driven tunes, but the beautiful ballads they created all through the course of their career…the deep cuts, you feel me? I found myself completely fascinated by “Safe” every time it came on – it was a whole different side of the SirenBlue sound that I’d yet to experience. “Happy Song” was already a unique cut from what I knew about this band already, and “Safe” seemed to take a cue from that, and take it even further – all with justified confidence. I’ll let you in on a little secret as to WHY you hear that in the music of SirenBlue y’all…it’s these little things called substance & skill you see – not only do they have incredible material, but they KNOW it, inside & out – and they’re simply not making any mistakes you could point out. “Safe” is one of those songs that’s gonna immediately hit the heartstrings of those listening out there – they’ve got a stunning melody that’s soul-soothing and warm and comforting and I just LOVE what they’ve created for the verses of this tune. That being said…hearing them raise the stakes even further through the mesmerizing chorus they put into this tune…well folks…that’s something else to experience altogether – and a real highlight moment of memorable music right there is what that is. They take you into the slower-side of the album with perfect precision, professionalism, and passion radiating from every pore of your speakers…I think they hit an absolute homerun with this mid-tempo ballad and display another entirely special aspect of the SirenBlue sound to be addicted to, as if we even needed more already!
As I’ve mentioned in past reviews of SirenBlue – you’ll find them often reminding you of Garbage – though the comparison is more relevant to the smoldering vibes & dark, moody energy you’d find in their earliest work. “Vague Disaster” is a solid representation of how those similarities work well within their favor without making them a carbon copy – it’s like a brilliant fusion between the sound & styles of Garbage’s first two records in this one experience, and SirenBlue is rockin’ it all with full confidence. I’ll say this for sure – if they ever needed a touring partner over here in Canada, I’m sure they’d find one in the band HEAD…you’ll find many similarities between the two independent Alt/Rock bands. The guitars in this cut, and the drums…man…all this stuff plays such a significant role in generating our interest through the journey through “Vague Disaster” – as far as my ears are concerned, the balance of strengths is impeccable; the music has every bit as much of a chance at grabbing your attention as the vocals do, and they share the spotlight throughout this entire cut. While there are ALWAYS gonna be excellent hooks you’ll hear coming out of the microphone when it comes to what SirenBlue creates no matter which singer they’re going with in the lead position – “Vague Disaster” seems to know that the vocals aren’t going to necessarily be THE priority of this particular cut, and they really let the music have a significant moment to make an impression on ya here instead. When you’re talkin’ about a ‘vibe’ in a song – it’d be tracks like “Vague Disaster” that you’d wanna point towards…this track moves to its own energy…and that energy is smoldering intensity at its absolutely finest. If you don’t think this track would become one of THE highlights of the night in a live-setting…dear readers, dear friends – grab yourself a Q-Tip and get that sorted will ya? “Vague Disaster” has the potential to become all-out TRIBAL and a show-stopping song that will reveal just how tight & unified this band authentically IS – you can practically see this moment play out in your mind, and it’s something ya wanna be in the front row for. The further down the spiral you travel with SirenBlue on “Vague Disaster,” the more those incredible drums and guitar tones work their magic on ya…you add in the haunting backing vocals to go with slickness of the lead…I’m tellin’ ya folks – it’s highly controlled chaos that feels like it’s got a nuclear build-up to it that could detonate at every second. I felt like they got a lot of value out of the transition into the understated chorus of “Vague Disaster” on this recording, yes – but I’d be lyin’ to ya by omission if I didn’t say that the real magic of a song like this will likely get fully unlocked during live performances.
Yeah…no stone unturned here y’all…not when it comes to style, not when it comes to sound, not when it comes to execution – there’s simply nothing not to love about the way SirenBlue has gone about their second record. I listen to “Compromise” and like…beyond the implied thematic concepts in the lyrics, I felt like I had to “Compromise” my own personal taste here – and accept the fact that, this track was in many ways, kind of like experiencing what the next-level of Blues-Rock could ACTUALLY be. And I mean this all in the best of ways – “Compromise” is a gripping tune – it’s still a slow-burning Alternative track in many ways with its moody atmosphere – but you’ll hear what I’m talking about too – they’ve essentially accomplished the impossible, and incorporated a heavy Blues-Rock thread into this song in a way that won’t annoy anyone! Yes…that’s a direct knock on that genre hardly ever doing anything new, ever – but this song, even though I’d assume it might not necessarily have been SirenBlue’s main intention – proves that innovation still exists in the potential for the Blues-Rock realm, and the real key is through hybrid sound like this. Just like how Country now borrows insanely from Pop, or how Rap quite often uses R&B to establish impact through the hooks – the hybrid route is truly a solid path to take in terms of generating crossover sound and interest from an audience that may even be outside of the one you already have, drawing in even more listeners through clever songwriting. Of course – you gotta OWN the moment still…and that’s the real difference that SirenBlue makes, track after track, time after time – they’ve taken on a monumental set of sheer variety on Same But Different that IS the Same But Different, you dig? It’s still incredibly cohesive to their sound & vision for SirenBlue – but it’s tracks like “Compromise” that really speak volumes on behalf of just how much crossover potential that exists. Vocally, it’s aces…lyrically, one of the most powerful…the guitars have off-the-charts personality once again…the recording & sound on the drums is immaculate…for a slow-jam, they’ve got a ton packed into the design of “Compromise” that stands out for all the right reasons in their tone, textures, & technique.
“Honest” is yet another cut that comes out swinging big with single-worthy vibes and a bright, upbeat sound that suits them really well. Bass-lines play a huge role in this one…nothing too overtly complex, just simple & straight perfection, giving this cut exactly what it needed to have that vibrant energy & rhythmic bounce to it. A lot of this track reminds me of the magic I used to hear in the sweetness of the Wild Strawberries and their laidback earlier records, before that band eventually twisted their own sound to the direction you’d hear on SirenBlue’s “Give It Away” at the very start. Universal appeal here without question though y’all – “Honest” is gonna have no problem finding a home on a whole bunch of playlists out there, and rightly so – it’s a freakin’ fantastic tune! Believe me when I tell ya, this entire lineup is chockfull of them, but there’s always a clear difference between hearing a stellar cut that connects for a certain feeling or mood we’re in, versus something like “Honest” which is loaded-up with accessible vibes from start to finish. It’s kind of got this like…”Coffee And TV”-esque, mellow melodic magic to it, and a playfulness to the bounce & sweet spark it has in the rhythm & groove…and despite the ever-heavy weight of their contrasting lyricism & themes, they end up with an uplifting & inspired song that’s guaranteed to reach a whole bunch of ears. Let’s be real here – SirenBlue sounds as 100% enchanting as they do completely entertaining on “Honest” – this would be another perfect example of a song that don’t need MY words to support it – this is music that has no problemo speaking on its own; and to every single one of you.
STRONG material all throughout this record…you gotta give SirenBlue the credit they deserve for making this moment in time genuinely count. I listen to a cut with the depth you’ll find in both the emotion & tone of “Tell Myself” and I’m pretty much blown away all over again. In what’s essentially a subtle and understated duet, the vocals are massively effective alongside the continual rumble of the bass-lines and the sparkling serenity of the guitars that spread out over top. A master-class on how to strip things back for a low-key moment that produces a maximum effect – you get genuine shivers down your spine when you listen to a track like “Tell Myself” – because it’s the kind of cut you truly can’t help but feel. Factor in the killer guitar solo and the brilliant melody they add in at the very end once again, and trust me, you’ll find everything you wanna hear & more in this cut right here – this is substantial stuff y’all, and a highlight example of a song that’s built to last. By this point of their latest record, you’d have assumed that ANY band would have practically run their well of creativity completely dry – and if anything, “Tell Myself” is even further proof that SirenBlue is just scratching the surface of all that they’ll go on to accomplish, with multiple dimensions, directions, and potential for what they can achieve with their music. The slow-burning pulse & rhythm supplied by the bass is spot-on, the accenting guitar tones that float into the music or roar under the surface below are perfectly played – and when it comes to the vocals…good lord…where do I even start? Look…these are two remarkable gems up front on the microphone in SirenBlue – they’ve proven that completely throughout this record, in either individual scenario where either/or takes on the lead…but this…THIS! Hearing them singing this tightly together, and how absolutely spellbinding they can be when singing in tandem…I mean…this opens the doors of opportunity for SirenBlue all over again, and displays an entirely new depth of possibility within their sound & style. While “Tell Myself” is definitely one of the slower cuts on Same But Different – there’s not a doubt in my mind that they’re going to attract a lot of attention with this track, and justifiably so – this track offers something entirely fresh inside of their own sound, exploring the depths of SirenBlue’s potential even more. The whispered vocals were a perfect approach here, giving this song an internal feeling like they’re the voices that exist inside your own head, fitting the theme of “Tell Myself” spot on.
Do I need to tell ya how awesome the ride through “Every Other Weekend” is again – or do ya remember me telling you it was awesome only a couple weeks back when I reviewed it and broke the news that this whole awesome record was on the way? If you DO remember that far back still – know that you’re amongst my favorite people that walk this earth, and thanks for reading! If you don’t, I still love you, just not nearly as much…at least not right now. You can make that up to me and to SirenBlue by checking out the previous review on “Every Other Weekend” by clicking right here – you’re welcome. How do I feel about it as a single, now looking at the record’s content as a whole? I’m “cool with it” – I think it’s still a huge standout for the energy they tap into on this track for sure – I’d probably argue there are songs that might end up becoming even bigger hits for them off this record, but in terms of introducing the people out there to the sound it feels like is still their most dominant, “Every Other Weekend” is the perfect choice. It’ll give ya an insight into one of the dimensions of their sound that shows up more frequently throughout Same But Different, and definitely give ya a single-worthy vibe that’s heckin’ worth turning right up to the rafters – it’s a stellar gateway into the music on this album.
I don’t know the full methods behind their music, but whatever they’re doing, they can’t seem to miss. “In Time,” to me, was another undeniable gem on this album…the songwriting is stunning, and the performance is completely fearless. Set amidst a delicate piano-led atmosphere, with just the tiniest hint of a cello & strings showing up later on in the mix, the vocals on “In Time” are just about as naked as the day this dude was born…there’s nowhere to hide here – and better yet, there’s not a single reason to feel the need to. A sensational performance by every conceivable definition, it’s a song that tenderly examines the effect of time on life & love, takes on sorrow & regret, and hits you right in the heart with the resounding impact of the final line – “it’s easy to say sorry, until you have to mean it.” The emotional weight that comes along with this song is as heavy as heavy can be, despite the contrast of the dreamy piano atmosphere surrounding the vocals. Captivating as music can be, after the amped-up energy of “Every Other Weekend,” SirenBlue makes a really smart move by dialing back their sound as far back as it can go to the barest of bones & sincere vulnerability on display, giving their latest record an opportunity to expand into a more involved sound that’ll naturally catch attention from having more within the mix. Songs like “In Time” reveal the real heart at the core of SirenBlue via this heartbreaking tune, and it earns your attention through a breathtaking performance that gets the emotion into every word you’ll hear & within every note – their minimalism creates a truly memorable moment “In Time.”
You know something? This band is really gifted when it comes right down to it. I have naturally rebelled against the whole having-two-singers thing in bands for years & years…because I think it more often than not, ends up creating a two-sided band where listeners struggle with one half or the other – usually. I’m gonna wholeheartedly support what I hear in the vocals from both singers in SirenBlue – because they are truly both fantastic in their own unique ways that brilliantly complement each other, and they’ve both made essential contributions to this record that fully prove they’ve got the magic on the mic, every time. As they wrap it up with the inspired spark of energy on “Blue Horizon” – you’d find SirenBlue likely gaining more comparisons to something like Collective Soul once again than you would the previous comparisons I’ve made with this band to sounds you’d hear in Curve, or Garbage. It’s a suit that fits them extraordinarily well – and it’s an absolute stunner of an ending to Same But Different with what’s inarguably one of the most memorable hooks in any track you’ll find on this record. We’re talkin’ about wall-to-wall addictive sound goin’ down in this final four minute cut – and that certainly ain’t a bad way to finish things off eh? In terms of repeat-worthy sound and a song that’ll get you pressing play on Same But Different all over again, they couldn’t have possibly found a better ending than what you’ll hear on “Blue Horizon” – it’s really hard to say that they haven’t ended on the album’s strongest cut to be truthful…or at the very least, perhaps the most accessible – which in itself is remarkable considering the pure strengths we’re already experienced in their most universal & single-worthy songs beforehand. “Blue Horizon” can’t help but dazzle and charm you to the nth degree – and the like…triumphant spirit you’ll hear in this last track is like pure audio sunshine, fully capable of recharging your soul & providing that inspirational feeling that only music can feed your own aura with – this is the magic of music in action, and there’s practically no other way to describe it. Same But Different would be a remarkable achievement for any band out there at any stage of their career – but considering the fact that it’s only their second album? It’s genuinely mind-blowing to experience. Track after track, SirenBlue knocked it straight outta the park into the entire next dimension – and “Blue Horizon” seems to go on to emphasize their addictive melody and all-around specialness to spectacular heights that no set of ears could possibly ignore to wrap up this album on one of the most irresistible songs you’ll hear on any record you’ve got on your playlists this year.
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