Siberian started a couple of years ago as a Seattle collaboration, various musicians pinch-hitting for each other Broken Social Scene-style. From that evolved, or devolved, the current edition of Siberian, comprising original members Finn Parnell and Colin Wolberg and two new regulars, Zach Tillman and Aaron Benson. A six-song EP, Hey Celestial!, which truthfully might have been a better band name, precedes a proper album, slated for this summer.
Siberian exudes the sort of AM-radio cleanliness that’s so unimpeachable it’s easy to mistake for something better: ruffled platitudes on a strict four-minute timetable. That said, indie-rock would die a dull death without the strength of the middlebrow and obviously it’s too soon to tell if a lit pop-lite act like Siberian will develop any aspirations beyond modest, mouse-colored men. For now Hey Celestial! is a reasonable definition of the pocket-sized debut, relatively easy on the ears without, y’know, startling the cat, or rousing any stoically low expectations. “I am glad you’re upset,” as one lyric has it. (But I’m so not!)
“Soft Rains” opens things by clicking immediately into a comfortably-strummed groove that strings itself on fairly well for the length of the album. A number of contemporary comparisons are instantly apt: fans of the Delays should warm to the wistful harmonies and bird-like choruses of “Soft Rains,” which gives way to “Paper Birds” and a slightly rougher cut. Guitar-chime thickens to a slightly harder pop sound that’s more Hold Steady on “Stevie Nix,” say.
“Places You’ve Been” is the danciest song on the EP and includes the odd lyric “I’m not sticking out for you“—what’s not being stuck out, if it’s a digit, a limb or a principle, is left dramatically unresolved. “Forty-Two” with its dark melodicism and ringing solitude—or if you prefer a commonly employed epithet-as-reward, guitars-that-sound-like-synths—is the clear post-punk item, creating the general queasiness of some scrapped Scritti Politti ballad. Hey Celestial! ends with ‘Talk To The Moon’ and the line “I’ll sleep on the floor,” both a concession to a predicament and a sigh of determination from these get-up kids.
The Cloud Room – The Cloud Room
Delays – Faded Seaside Glamour
The Mendoza Line – Lost In Revelry