Nine Black Alps - Sirens
Having self-released third album Locked Out From The Inside, Sirens finds Manchester rockers Nine Black Alps signed to Leeds label Brew Records with a new bass member in tow after Martin Cohen left to form his own band Milkmaid. However with the original trio of core members in tact, it's very much business as usual - and what a beautifully cacophonous business it is. Fast, dirty and unashamedly heavy, it's an album to jolt you out of slumber in the loudest possible way.
What's always set Nine Black Alps out from the crowd though is their ability to balance the dark with the light: 'Be My Girl', 'Don't Forget To Breathe' and 'My One And Only' might hit you in the face from the off as a trio but they're smartly followed by the mellow - by NBA standards - 'Phosphorescence', all soft vocals and psychedelic guitars. It ensures that Sirens remains an audibly interesting record, as capable of hooking you with the meaty guitars of 'Penny Cinderella' as it is with lulling you with the sumptuous acoustic 'Waiting Room'. Everything Is might remain their benchmark but with Sirens, Nine Black Alps have shown there's plenty of life left in them yet.