The Sirens

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Released in 2007 a good 30 to 35 years after glam's heyday, this slice of glam revivalism is just about as over-the-top as you'd expect from the back cover photo of a gold-suited band in various states of kinky dress. Not many tricks are missed in the music: the lead vocals (by Muffy Kroha) have a breathlessly preening, upper-register yelping quality, the backup singing often motors things along with chants, and the arrangements have a brash campy guitar pop attack. The utter lack of original material does make you feel as though you're buying a souvenir from a very accomplished glam tribute band. But while covering Sweet's "Fox on the Run," the Bay City Rollers' "Saturday Night," and (most of all) David Bowie's "Rock'n'Roll Suicide" is begging for unfavorable comparison with the originals, the Sirens do show some imagination in the rest of the songs they select for this CD. The Sweet songs "Hellraiser" and "Wig-Wam" might have seemed too obvious as choices from a British act, but, after all, these weren't hits in the Sirens' native U.S.. There are also glammed-up takes on a few early-'70s songs that certainly weren't thought of as glam at the time, but work well in this context, including the MC5 ("High School" and "Tonight"); the Shangri-Las' "Right Now Not Later," which must have passed muster owing to the spiritual influence of the girl group sound (if only as something to camp up) on glam; and, most of all, Crabby Appleton's "Go Back," which has been seldom covered by anyone, even if it was a Top 40 hit in 1970. But while it's somewhat of a cliché to say this of an imaginative all-cover band, it remains true that these folks are probably more fun to see in person than listen to on disc. Incidentally, the CD ends with a track unlisted on the sleeve -- a cover of Poison's "Talk Dirty to Me."

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