On the surface, Obscura Hail’s Siren is lively, catchy, and at times holiday-y, like a long drive along the Great Ocean Road in the Summer. But beneath the 20-minute collection of songs is much more than calming vocals and groovy guitar riffs. A fight or flight response to the uncertainty of the modern world, this bedroom folk-pop EP composes a tale of confidence, anxiety, and bravery.
Originally from Wollongong, Obscura Hail’s lead vocalist and guitarist Sean Conran explains that the band says the band “began as a routine of externalising memory for the sake of preservation due to a fear of Alzheimer’s.”
Balanced out by Tamara Issa (bass guitar and vocals) and Kaelan Edmond (drums), Obscura Hail have created an EP charged with an optimistic, anxious energy.
The grungy, distorted strum of a guitar opens the EP with ‘Doomer’, painting a picture of a never-ending road stretching over the horizon and beyond. It instantly puts you at the wheel, cruising along with the windows down as the relentless guitar blares from the speakers. The lyrics match the scenery, encouraging the listener to not let the realisation of how terrible the world is pull you down.
Picking up the pace, ‘Idle Hands’ gets the head bopping and the feet tapping. The catchy picking of the guitar under the coupling of Conran and Issa’s calm yet groovy vocals is captivating and so easy to listen to. It’s upbeat, uplifting, and positive: perfectly reflective of the song’s true intentions. ‘Idle Hands’ recognises that sometimes we’re too unmotivated or even too afraid to take action and that that’s okay! But sometimes, we’ve just got to get a hold of ourselves and roll with the kicks and punches.
A shift in ambience opens a dreamy tunnel to the past with ‘Penumbra’, the third track on the EP. Conran reminisces a simpler time as a boy when the largest of life’s worries were wiping over his older brother’s Starcraft save. The lyrics are vivid, direct, and descriptive, and the reverb on the vocals and the instruments creates somewhat chaotic yet calming experience towards the end of the track. It’s a song of nostalgia, of childhood memories, and of longing to belong to a simpler time once again.
A dramatic twist suddenly takes place as the reflective nostalgia of ‘Penumbra’ is replaced by the punk beat presented by the drums of ‘Uniform’. As the plucking of the bass enters the mix, the track becomes reminiscent of a somewhat upbeat ‘Another Brick in The Wall’ by Pink Floyd. Despite its serious tone, this song remains extremely groovy and tells a much deeper story than what it lets onto.
Finally, ‘Town Cryer’ brings the return of the holiday vibe, bookending the EP perfectly before the curtains begin to close. Throughout this upbeat piece, Obscura Hail poses a number of reflective questions and statements regarding fear, addiction, friendships, anxiety, and depression. With lyrics such as “the bathtub has never carried this much water” with water being tears, this final track leaves the listener with many thoughts and many questions.
Siren successfully evokes a range of emotions from the joy of travelling on long, scenic roads with the music blaring, to filling a bathtub with tears.
With a vast contrast in relatable, sometimes depressing lyrics with upbeat instrumentals, Obscura Hail have beautifully crafted a one-of-a-kind EP that is bound to get your head bopping and your heart throbbing. Steam the whole setlist from Dot Dash today!
By Joshua Vivian