Kroha is flanked by two girl guitarists (unnamed on the website and the CD) who not only rip on their instruments but also sing backing vocals reminiscent of early-1960s girl bands. Both are enthusiastic about the electric potential of the guitar, emphasizing heavy, buzzing lines. The sound is often so muddy it easily covers up deficiencies in skill, but that's just a time-honored rock tradition as is the head-bopping, hair-in-the-face, manic rhythms that leave you breathless.
Perhaps it was the late hour, thin crowd, or recent lineup change (the formerly all-girl band had replaced its bassist and drummer with two guys in gold lamé), but the Sirens didn't seem entirely comfortable in their wild and sexy getups. Pretty, healthy, and not young, they looked more like your neighbor or somebody's mother under all the theatrics. And they often appeared bored and annoyed. That's okay for a nihilistic metal band. But as glam rockers with plenty of cleavage, they should know the audience expects them to play it up.
Fortunately, they play it up just fine on their CD. Hot and grinding, energetic and studio polished, it's a surprisingly entertaining record. The bass and drums are heavy in the mix, and most of the songs will get your pulse racing. By the time the Sirens get to the final track Ike Turner's "I'm Blue" they drag it along, as if they're exhausted from all that came before. I was too.
The Sirens return to the Elbow Room on Saturday, May 6, in a warm-up to a spring tour of Serbia.