Siren is one of our favorite Roxy albums, right up there with the first album and well ahead of the commercially appealing Avalon. After reading a rave review in Rolling Stone of the album back in 1975, I took the plunge, bought a copy at my local Tower Records and instantly fell in love with it.
As is my wont, I then proceeded to work my way through their earlier catalog, which was quite an adventure. It takes scores of plays to understand where the band is coming from on the early albums and what it is they’re trying to do. Now I listen to each of the first five releases on a regular basis.
Somehow they never seem to get old, even after more than forty years.
Of all the Roxy albums (with the exception of Avalon) this is probably the best way “in” to the band’s music. The earlier albums are more raucous, the later ones more rhythmically driven — Siren catches them at their peak, with, as other reviewers have noted, all good songs and no bad ones.
Imports? Not So Fast
The British and German copies of Siren are clearly made from dub tapes and sound smeary, small and lifeless.
To be fair, Siren has never impressed us as an exceptionally good sounding recording. Like other middle period Roxy, records such as Country Life and Manifesto (the albums just before and after), it simply does not have Demo Disc analog sound the way Avalon, Stranded or the Self-Titled albums do (the latter two clearly being the best sounding in their catalog).
One would be tempted to assume that the import pressings of Siren would be better sounding, the way the imports of the first four Roxy albums are clearly better sounding. (There has never been a domestic Hot Stamper pressing of any of those titles and, since we never buy them or play them, there probably never will be.)
But in the case of Siren it’s the imports that are made from dubs. It may be a British band, recorded in British studios with a British producer, but the British pressed LPs are clearly made from sub-generation tapes, whereas the domestic copies sound like they’re made from the real masters.
Go Figure. And another thing: when it comes to records, never assume.