CD: Sirsy’s “BYOB: Collection B”
(Sirsy Music, 2010):
Let’s get this out of the way right at the start. Sirsy is a very popular band – they were voted Best Local Rock Band again in this week’s Metroland Readers’ Poll. They also don’t get the respect that they desrve from the local music hipster crowd. Probably because they’re so popular.
But the thing is that Melanie Krahmer and Rich Libutti are damn good. And if you need proof, pick up this new disc.
“BYOB” stands for Build Your Own Bootleg, and that’s pretty much what this is – five live tracks recorded at Revolution Hall in Troy – including “Leftover Girl” with special guest vocalist Brittany Robichaud – and the disc-closing live rendition of “Mary Concetta” recorded in Syracuse.
The production quality isn’t top-notch, but it’s good enough. And the songs and performances really are first-rate. Krahmer’s scat singing on the slinky “Wishless” is mindboggling.
But what makes this disc so special are the opening four tracks – string quartet renditions of “Fireflies,” “Still,” “Mercury” and “Sorry Me.” All four tunes originally appeared on Sirsy’s most recent studio album, “Revolution,” but they take on a whole new life with the soaring string arrangements by violinist Mark Frederick. NOTE: Frederick and his bandmates in Celtic faves the Fighting 86’s are about to drop their own debut CD later this month.
The strings – by Caitlyn O’Donnell, Kim Kondenar and Mark Lewis, as well as Frederick – are intimate and lush, and yet the songs never lose their intensity. And in the string settings, Krahmer tones down her trademark growl and delivers some of the best – and most subtle – singing that she’s ever recorded.
Sirsy will celebrate the release of “BYOB: Collection B” on Friday night at Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs. They also promise to unveil a handful of new songs from their upcoming studio album, slated for release later this year. The Grift opens the show.