While there are many excellent singer-songwriters who have created some amazing songs as a collaboration with other musicians and producers including some of my favourites, the over-reliance of these producers on collaborators can be a significant drawback for the coherence and integrity of album output. Therefore bands like OceanLab are always a pleasure to encounter, delivering top-notch artistry, professional production and a great voice in one package. Sirens of the Sea is the group's first, and only, album.
OceanLab formed well before this album's conception, as another alias of extremely high-flying trance group Above and Beyond dating back to 1999. Singer Justine Suissa joins A&B members Paavo Siljamaki, Jono Grant and Tony McGuinness in this project, and the early results were several club-oriented vocal anthems, including "Clear Blue Water", "Satellite" and "Beautiful Together", all of which performed very strongly but were packaged largely as one-offs amongst the other singles released by A&B and their other aliases, and Suissa was credited as a featured vocalist on these early singles. Suissa did not contribute to Above and Beyond's debut artist album Tri-State released in 2006, however after the release of that album the four began work on "Sirens of the Sea". Unusually for a trance album Sirens contains no featured vocalists and does not include the group's earlier hits, concentrating solely on original tracks led by Suissa's voice. These decisions may have been commercially brave but they were wise ones, as the songs we have here fit together beautifully and the sound of the producers has tightened considerably from the good but slightly wandering Tri-State, with the songwriting and vocals firmly to the fore, and the tracklist includes no examples of either album filler or fanbase pandering. This is a true rarity, a complete trance album that sounds good as a whole, is thematically and sonically coherent and contains genuinely good songs that go far beyond the all too common dreamy slush frequently found in this genre.
|A2||Sirens Of The Sea||5:56|
|A3||If I Could Fly||5:12|
|B3||On A Good Day||5:57|
|C2||I Am What I Am||4:46|
|D2||On The Beach||4:45|
|D3||Breaking Ties (Flow Mix)||6:11|