Kelly Sweet's forthcoming EP release, Sirens, is a musical mission statement. Ripe with exploding synths and beats, the collection of songs is only strengthened by the alterna-pop songstress's all-encompassing voice.
Originally from Cape Cod, Sweet landed in Kanab, Utah; a tiny town with only two sets of traffic lights. Though she had this small town to call home, most of her childhood years were spent in transit, gracing the stages of many state fairs across the U.S., filling the occasional support slot while touring with high-profile artists including Paul Simon, or singing the National Anthem in front of thousands at the odd Los Angeles Lakers basketball game.
Naming Annie Lennox as one of her main influences, Sirens idles comfortably between the quirkiness of Sia, the dreaminess of School Of Seven Bells, the innocence of Lykke Li, and the dance-ready energy of Metric. The EP has been a long time in the making, with the singer/songwriter confessing that she has been building the foundations for the tracks since 2008. "I heard beautiful ambient electronic synths and pads, combined with big beats to fill in the low end. I wanted it to feel warm, and like the music surrounded you."
Sirens takes off with the low and heavy dance track, "Ashes of My Paradise." Sweet's voice adds a subtle touch of intensity to the minimalistic drops of bass that encompass the song. As she breathes over the infectious synths and leads us into a fast paced chorus, there is an encompassing darkness hidden in the lyrics that is hard to ignore. "I lost both of my parents to cancer during the making of this new record - my mother in December of 2011, and my father in June of 2012. I was 23 years old and I felt I stood amongst the ash of the dreams of my life. But like a phoenix, I can rise again."
Despite the powerful entrance she makes on the EP, Sweet breaks herself down and offers herself up like an innocent lamb in the unabashed ballad, "My Amazing Grace." A tender portrayal of her experiences in love, Sweet confesses, "I am yours and yours alone," over a vintage hook reminiscent of a Depeche Mode track. She speaks of a creeping lion, which Sweet admits, "represents my own fear and getting lost in everything I was afraid of". Never one to go quietly, Sweet regains courage once more in the chorus, which to her, signifies the moment in love when "all your fears fall away, and everything is right."
The EP's title track concludes the collection perfectly, with the infectious chorus capturing Sweet's optimism and strength as an artist. The song tells of guilt and the all too familiar alarm bells that sound when we experience the emotion. But the aptly titled "Sirens" represents Sweet's true release, and her way of breaking free. "Sometimes, things in the past can hold you hostage, like you're trapped behind the bars of your mind... But this EP is the first release of my new sound. Sirens represents, in that case, 'watch out, here it comes!'"
You have been warned.