by: Rachel Narozniak
Mar 30, 2022
Shrill and unmistakable, slicing through any semblance of peace that might be found at the pandemic’s height in London: the sound of an ambulance’s siren. The vehicle’s inimitable screech laid the groundwork for the lyrical contents of “Sirens,” says Caroline Polachek, the voice of the single. Not coincidentally, the number, which surfaces as the second preview of Palaces‘ sound, succeeding February’s “Say Nothing,” hears Polachek exercising her vocal range, scaling it up in a soprano fashion that mimics the high pitch of the song’s namesake.
“I was living by myself in London, and it was the darkest time in the pandemic. I was really going through it, feeling so small, unable to control anything in the world, and the lyric ‘sirens’ was in reference to constant ambulances I was hearing,” Polachek said in a press release touting “Sirens.”
Ironically, though “Sirens’” lyrical origins are rooted in a time of social isolation, the production was born out of a serendipitous street encounter: “we bumped into each other living down the street,” Flume said. Though Polachek had just moved to Los Angeles, they’d known each other for years. Invitations to weekly games of Magic: The Gathering with A.G. Cook and other friends would eventually prompt Flume and Polachek to start a session. One thing that led to another, led to another, and co-producer Danny L. Harle’s influence was first felt when he showed Flume a voice note from Polachek with “some very early stages of vocals,” the Skin producer recalled. “I loved it and went back in on it during the pandemic.”
The result is a production stylized with quintessential Flume trappings. Glitchy yet fluid, at once textured and smooth, “Sirens” isn’t as well-positioned for radio play as its MAY-A-assisted counterpart. That said, it’d be a goosebump-catalyzing set inclusion, and it will assuredly fulfill this function during Flume’s sprawling world tour, set to formally commence at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on April 14. A complete list of dates, complete with ticket information, is available here.
Featured image: Julian Buchan