Lazy Listen: Space Siren/Wolvon/Zea – Songs For A Dead Pilot

January 23, 2015
by Tjeerd van Erve

Admittedly, suggesting that the best was yet to come is a bit of a non-statement when there is nothing more ‘yet to come’. Still, this is the unescapable feeling that creeps up on me when I listen to Songs For A Dead Pilot. Recorded and mixed in the months, weeks, or maybe even days before the passing of Corno Zwetsloot, this is the last ‘new’ sound we’ll ever hear from Space Siren. But they are not leaving us with any ‘sentimental parting note’. These two songs are not a ‘goodbye’, they are – just like all the other work of the band – a mark of their measure. They are a kick in your face, two men and two women pulling at all your senses and shouting, ‘HEY! WE’RE HERE! YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION!’. The quartet of course never was this brutal or forceful to your face, and neither are they here. Details, that’s what it’s all about, subtlety. When reviewing the first full length of the four piece, Mr. Wagner, Please Give Us A Call, I described their music as those Napoleon sweets: sweet on the hard outside, face-wrenchingly sour once you had sucked to the sal ammoniac inside A description that fits so much better now, than it did back then.

Take ‘Zachies’ the side A of the first 7”. It sounds as if the band managed to put anxiety in to music; it’s choking, disturbing. But in all the dissonant guitar lines, and the slow burning opening riff, there is still something sweet, reassuring in between all the layers of noise. On top of that it is the most abstract sound that the band has pulled off up to now, taking all experimentation from the previous records to a new level. There are no harsh, burning eruptions at the end. It’s an end that leaves you broken and wanting for more of the beating you just received. And this is hard, because you know this is the best of Space Siren you’ve ever heard and that you’ll ever hear. Up and to the heartbreaking sigh that ends it all. And you know – no matter what comparison you can make to whatever iconic band – there will be very few bands that can top this intensity. Well, of course, Space Siren themselves: on the flipside that is.

If there is one noise band that comes close to the noise ferocity of the band from Voorhout, it is Groningen trio WOLVON. Taking Space Siren’s ‘(wrong)’ and making it in to their own brand of noise rock, they at least prove me right (in my own conviction) that these three guys form the best soul band of the Netherlands. If one would’ve told me that these lads had learned to play in a gospel band, I would believe him: this is Curtis Mayfield making love to Thurston Moore, and this is how it should be. We get more of the idea that weird is normal is weird with the offering from Arnold de Boer, aka ZEA. You see, if you tell him that the sound of feedbacking guitars resembles the flute on the tea kettle he’ll give you a tea kettle at boiling point, just to make the sound fit in a song. Here, ‘Who Makes Me Try’, gets a typical bleeps and blops lofi electronics noise ZEA make over, looking to give a tribute to the experimental side of his pals from Voorhout. A brilliant closer of this four song double 7”, which will be for sale on The Last Waltz Tour with ZEA and WOLVON on stage and the Space Siren DJ-team spinning the wheels. A great combination of this month’s place to be and this year’s single to have.


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