Thursday, December 27, 2012

Red Siren - All Is Forgiven (1989)

(U.S 1987 - 1990)
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For today's post, I'm featuring a band that no one knew what to make of when they came out.
Were they metal?
Were they pop?
The band had metal looks and guitars, strong female vocals, lyrics and hooks.
Mercury Records thought they had a blockbuster.



The band is Siren (later called Red Siren). I vaguely remember the early promo hype Mercury Records made over this 1989 album. First, it was supposedly the very first major label studio album that wasn't mastered on tape, but totally to digital hard drive - something that would be eventually be standard in the recording industry.

While the ELP-esque cover artwork might suggest a progressive rock album, Siren's sound definitely falls into the mainstream pop/rock style of the late 80's. I hear a lot of similarities to artists like Private Life, Robin Beck, and 80's era Heart, and singer Kristin Massey's vocals sound like a cross between Stevie Nicks and Belinda Carlisle.

Red Siren is a prime example of forgotten mediocrity of the ‘80s. They looked like they wanted to be bad-asses but didn’t have any punch at all. The singer (Kristin Massey) was kind of hot and “All Is Forgiven” is by far the best thing they ever did, but even that tune is the standard middle ground of 1989 rock. I love the video for it though. Both the bassist (Jon Brant - ex Cheap Trick) and drummer (Gregg Potter) are rocking out way too hard for what they’re playing. The barely moving guitarist has it just right.

While I don't necessarily advocate this album is worth a 5-star rating, it's still a very solid pop/rock album. When it's good (see "All Is Forgiven", "One Good Lover", "Stand Up", and "Master Of The Land"), it's very good. Unfortunately some of the more laid back songs like "How Dare a Woman" and others on the B-Side kill the momentum a bit and give the album a sense of unevenness. And while the musicianship is very tight, you can't help but wish they had come up with some better guitar hooks to really grab people's attention. It was the 80's after all.

I do agree that this album was sadly overlooked. Given some of the similar artists that made it big in that era, Siren definitely deserved more success, and would have if the record company had done something - anything - to promote the band. Instead the band's legacy lies with those who were either with them from the start or people like me who ran across the disc in a cutout bin and decided to take a chance.

Kristin Massey
If for some unknown reason you go to look for the album, keep an eye out for Siren as well as Red Siren. As for Siren, things didn't go so good. First, they were forced to legally change their name to Red Siren (reportedly after another band named Siren threatened to sue.) The first pressings of their 'All Is Forgiven' LP/CD (under the name Siren) quickly became collector's items. Unfortunately, my pressing is not one of them!

After a second single "One Good Lover" stalled in the lower reaches of the rock charts, they disbanded. Red Siren's bassist Jon Brant played in Cheap Trick briefly, but not much is known of the other members of the band. That's how it goes in rock n' roll sometimes. So enjoy this little chestnut.....
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This post is an MP3 rip (320kps) ripped from my vinyl copy and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD.  Sound quality is exceptional.

Track Listing
01.      All Is Forgiven      4:01
02.      One Good Lover      3:53
03.      Don't Let Go          4:15
04.      Master of the Land      4:00
05.      Stand Up          4:25
06.      Good Kid          4:41
07.      How Dare a Woman      4:40
08.      Rock-A-Bye          4:01
09.      Love Shut Down      3:21
10.      So Far Away          4:16


Band Members
Kristin Massey - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards
Robert Haas - lead guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards, Synclavier, background vocals
Gregg Potter - drums
Jon Brant - bass guitar

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Red Siren Link (125Mb)
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9 comments:

  1. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return. Plots for sale in Hyderabad

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  2. Thanks for dropping in mmahessh - come back real soon 'cause there's plenty more to come

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  3. Hi, i heard the track "all is forgiven" whilst in Miami on holiday from the UK - constantly on 97GTR the radio station. Forgot the name of the band when i got home so wrote to 97GTR to ask and they sent me a promo CD ep. Awesome ! Also wrote to the band and got a letter from Kristin Massey who said the band split and she was working on a project called Venus de Milo. Sadly heard no more. Got the original album too.

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  4. Hi Richard
    Nice to see both Radio Station and a Band Member being so accomodating. Question: Were the tracks on the EP taken from the album or were they different tracks. Any chance of getting a rip of the EP - would love to add it to my blog, with credit given to you of course?

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  5. It was 1995, Im a freshman at UNLV, hooked up with a chick from the show Sirens. We went back to her place and had sex. She didn't want me to leave, I don't like clingy chicks so I asked her to make me something to eat. When she left the room I grabbed my clothes and jumped out her window. Just as I got into my truck and sped away I cranked up the radio, this song was on. Never a more fitting song for how I felt, you couldn't write that shit any better. My friends couldn't believe it when I told them, I often looked for the song but never heard it again. You could imagine how much it drove me crazy. Oct 8 2013, Im sitting on the throne and its in one of my crossword puzzles. The words "All is forgiven", that's when it all came back to me. I checked it out on my I-pad while on the throne and sure enough that was the song. To think that 18 years later I would finally hear it again.

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  6. I heard the song "All is Forgiven" on the radio in 1989 and loved it so much I bought the album. I still have it and it's hardly been played. Really, I've only played the one song and it was pretty much to record it on cassette.
    How can I tell if it is one of the first pressings?

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    Replies
    1. If the record label has 'Siren' printed on it rather than 'Red Siren', then you have hit the jackpot

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  7. As all 80's video's I do have to laugh a bit. The images I conjured up in my own mind were a lot better than the video. The chick was okay to look at even though mimicking her own voice proved to be a challenge. It was not unlike children dressed as girl vampires at Halloween, and needing to open her mouth widely for the second consonant of "given" showing her set of chompers, as well as the lethargic guitarist looking at you like, "I got it-I got it...........I don't got it" solos and playing. Even a rhythm guitarist makes the "F" face on occasion, to play a solo while staring into the camera reminds me "deer-headlights". I only say all of this because I took the song serious and it was today, July of 2016 that I saw the video. Had I seen it on MTV or whatever I would not have purchased the disc. Vampire Mafia with Bill "you knuckleheads" Murray.

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