Album Review: Ben Abraham – Sirens

There have been several moments in reviewing this album where I have wanted to give it a ‘6’.  ‘Sirens’ has a warm, lush sound, and the straightforwardness of his delivery and songs suggest a singer-songwriter that believes in his material.  You feel like this guy’s alright. Surely he’s better than a ‘5’ ?

But that’s not the work that we’re doing here, is it ? There’s got to be more than earnestness and decency. There’s got to be spark, there’s got to be fire.

It’s no surprise that after a few listens it’s still the opening two or three tracks grab the most attention: they firmly set the tone and nothing that comes after really manages to make the mould crack, let alone break open.  Abraham has a pleasant voice, remarkable in part for his gentle Australian accent.  I didn’t find it a drag listening to him, but there are precious few moments of double-take, jaw drop, or unconscious abandonment to the song.

Abraham’s problems extend beyond not giving his voice room to express beyond moments on the title track.  His lyrics are homespun, striving for connection and everyday wisdom; they end up workaday, cliché.  The music is effaced to the point of being apologetic, lacking reference points.  Given the sadness and romanticism of his subject matter, I’m left wondering whether this guy ever gets angry, makes outrageous gestures, takes a risk.  Perhaps he’ll feel more inclined next time out, having stuck his toe in the water.

‘Sirens’ is out now on Secretly Canadian.

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