Album Review: Viserra // Siren Star
For those who don’t know, the term ‘los angeles’ is Spanish for the angels. It’s amusing that alt-rock band Viserra is from Los Angeles because they have the sound of rock angels. It’s also amusing that their debut album is named Siren Star as vocalist Lexi Littlejohn can easily be a mythological siren herself.
While Viserra released their debut album in August 2020, the group already has a loyal following within the Hollywood scene. Performing at some of the most renowned venues, such as The Federal and Whisky A Go Go, Lexi Littlejohn (vocals), Rafael Jordan (guitars), Stephen Rosolio (bass) and Michel Riffle (drums) are fixtures with a strong reputation for engaging gigs. I’m not here to chat about their background; I’m here to chat about their album Siren Star.
For several years, focus has been paid to the role of females in the music industry, particularly in alternative rock and metal female-fronted bands. Reminiscent of iconic 21st-century female vocalists, such as Amy Lee (Evanescence), Lzzy Hale (Halestorm) and Haley Williams (Paramore), Viserra’s Lexi Littlejohn demonstrates vitality, originality and boldness in her role as frontwoman of this alt-rock group.
A six-track record, Siren Star is a sci-fi concept album tracking the tale of star-crossed lovers separated by time and space. From the opening track ‘Light Years’ through to ‘Far From Over’, the album is a conversation between two lovelorn characters taking you along on their emotional journey.
Combining the energy of Hayley Williams with the power of Amy Lee and the mysticism of Lacy Sturm, Littlejohn’s vocals have a hypnotising vulnerability. Add this to the overwhelming skills of guitarist Rafael Jordan, and you will be transported to a realm of hope, desperation and raw honesty. It’s like reading a novel and being pulled into the story.
Each track brings with it a thought, feeling and awareness of the character’s perception in the tale. Beginning with ‘Light Years’, a stage is set for the narrative. As one progresses, there is an up-and-down in energy which is striking considering guitar solos are in each track. What I mean is that it is possible for solos to sound the same, but Jordan has a way of complementing the style of the track emphasising the emotion.
It is difficult to choose a favourite on Siren Star, but ‘Midnight Sun’ or ‘Far From Over’ are potentially my preferred songs. By the time you reach these final tracks, you feel the pain, desperation and sometimes frustration of the lovers. Holding her own against the pounding drums and guitars, Littlejohn ends Siren Star with a sadness in her voice singing “lost in time”, leaving you heartbroken.
A celebration and commiseration of hopeless love, Viserra’s Siren Star is the musical embodiment of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. If he were alive now, I’m pretty sure the bard would agree.