The Palpitations newest offering ‘Siren’ may not be a track that you instantly connect with, and I wouldn’t begrudge you for feeling that way, but after listen, after listen, after listen you begin to realise the nuances and exceptional craftwork that has gone into its creation.
Learning the story behind the band, the context to the song, and really taking the time to appreciate their unique way of blending light and dark (both sonically and lyrically), you begin to realise that The Palpitations are a post-punk force to be reckoned with.
Learning the origins of this Luton/London 3-piece in the Luton and Dunstable Hospital Emergency Ward, it becomes ever more refreshing understanding the ideas and messages they are seeking to put across. It’s apparent across the majority of their releases, but in ‘Siren’ the darkness and emotional rawness that must be present in such a delicate and often tragic environment is juxtaposed with soaring and beautifully melodic guitar lines, cinematic and theatrical in the way they ebb and flow, rise and fall.
Danceable, hook-infested choruses are set against brutal and grief-ridden lyrics about “the ravages of drug addiction on a young woman” and by the track’s close you’re not really sure how to feel at all. The hope of swelling synths and the desire to dance on the one hand, versus the despondency of a crushing post-punk backline in the other. ‘Siren’ really is an insightful piece about dealing with the horrors that befall us in hospital, but also the knowledge that there is hope beyond the whitewash walls of the emergency room.