Anglo-Norwegian artist Sasha Siem has officially announced the release of her debut album Most of the Boys in the U.S. through Blue Plum Records. The debut LP follows recent single ‘My Friend’, which saw her musical background collide colourfully with her appreciation of more contemporary artists such as Andrew Bird and PJ Harvey, giving way to a sold-out London show along with the single launch and praise from the likes of NME, Clash Magazine and Vice Noisey.
Written during a spell in Berlin and later produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson (Sigur Ros, Bjork, Bonnie Prince Billy, Feist) at Reykjavik’s legendary Greenhouse Studios, Siem’s debut LP Most Of The Boys is a song cycle. Its twelve songs are as linked by their themes as by the sonic world they inhabit - born of an unlikely collusion of influences that Siem has woven together: her years spent composing and performing award-winning contemporary classical music; her fascination with likeminded lovers of innovative songwriting and unusual arrangements and her youthful love of the canon of great songwriters that emerged in the 1960s.
At its core, Most Of The Boys is a love story; the songs demonstrate a protagonist on a quest through a series of entangled relationships and binding attachments. If this protagonist starts puppet-like with a clinical, almost detached perspective of the world within which she is entangled (“How do you kiss a kind man, then cut him out at the second draft?” – ‘Kind Man’s Kiss’), then she emerges full-bodied and awash with the passionate life force of her inner being on 'My Friend' (“You have the answers inside and with a hand on your heart they’ll guide you”). Closing track ‘Valentine’ – with its hazy, extended instrumental interlude - signals she has dived off the stage of Most Of The Boys, with its theatrical carousel of failed relationships, and into her inner psyche. Love, she discovers, is found within.
Most Of The Boys boasts beautifully intricate instrumentation on the album’s opening title track, powerful drama in the climax to ‘Proof’, while ‘My Friend’, ‘Tug Of War’ and ‘Silence’ highlight Siem’s majestic vocal delivery amid aching, placid melancholy. It is frequently startling – both musically and lyrically – and betrays a rare love of words and wordplay, something displayed right from the album’s opening lines: “Most of the boys were experiments/ Which is why she now has several exes/ After her name, like kisses”.
In advance of the album's release in the U.S. on May 25 a special remix package of "See Through" will be released digitally via iTunes. Along with the original version, the EP contains remixes by Scandanavia artist du jour-Highasakite, and XL Recording artist East India Youth, backed by the bonus B-side of "Proof" remixed by Matthew Herbert. XLR8R credits Herbert for "keeping the haunting vocals of the original, but melds them with industrial-tinged percussion, floating pads, and a rumbling low end".
Most of the Boys to be released on Blue Plum Records June 30, 2015. See Through Remix EP package released May 25, 2015.
1. Most Of The Boys
2. Kind Man’s Kiss
4. So Polite
5. Knows And Do-nots
8. Tug Of War 2
9. So Go
10. See Through
11. My Friend
“Coming on like Bjork fused with Joanna Newsom... painstaking intricacy” – NME
“An uptown fusion of Bjork, The Raincoats and the Cosmopolitan letters page” – Uncut, 8/10
“A rhapsodic Fiona Apple-meets-Joanna Newsom rave-up that references crotch-grabbing along the way” - Stereogum
"bewitchingly complex rhythms and swirling drama" - Wonderland Magazine
“Sasha Siem is a smart girl making smart avant-pop” – The Beat
“sweeping, widescreen grandeur… both contagious and quite, quite affecting” Clash Magazine
"if you were to construct a Venn Diagram between Bjork and Leonard Cohen, you’d find the tune (‘My Friend’) somewhere in the shaded middle section."- Q Magazine
"demands every single bit of your bolt-upright attention" - The Line Of Best Fit
"Sasha Siem makes us own our femininity" - Noisey
“Here is a girl that could easily pass off as the love child of the great Natasha Khan and Regina Spektor” – Ja Ja Ja
“gorgeous and emotive work, with lyrics that allow for self-reflection” – The 405
“delicate orchestral pop” – Under The Radar Magazine
About Sasha Siem
Sasha Siem grew up in London as the daughter of a Norwegian father and an English Art-historian mother. She began playing the piano at the age of five, picked up the cello soon afterwards, and by the age of 11 found herself studying at London’s Guildhall at weekends. By her 20s – having studied at Cambridge and, later, Harvard – she had composed for, amongst others, the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, while in 2010 she won a prestigious British Composer Award. Being a lover of poetry though, she yearned to write songs which would marry her words and music, rather than the orchestral or chamber pieces that had dominated her commissioned work to date. When initial experiments with singers proved frustratingly formal, Siem undertook a year-long retreat to Berlin, where she wrote her first collection of songs that would grow into a debut album that manages to be imposing yet subtle, playful and ever-sincere.