Sian Alice Group have a talent for artfully wrought, wholly realized compositions. Founded in the rock tradition, but adorned by the orchestral, the band unifies its members’ varied backgrounds in to a cohesive whole, underpinning it all with the ethereal beauty of Sian Ahern’s voice. They have an instinctively experimental approach to their music, and take in elements of guitar music, modern classical, soul, improvisation/free jazz and dance to create a mix that sounds organic and completely original. This ideal was first reflected in their initial 7” release, Nightsong, one track spread across two sides. In the short year that the band has existed they have already played in Denmark, Sweden and their native UK where they played their second and third shows ever opening for Spiritualized. Now on their debut full length 59.59 the group has crafted a record that is at once a collection of songs and also a single unit, a free-flowing, amorphous and organic body spanning 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
At the heart of Sian Alice Group are multi-instrumentalists Rupert Clervaux, Ben Crook and vocalist Sian Ahern. The three formed the group in late 2006. Rupert and Ben have both honed their crafts through different outlets in and around London for nearly ten years, Clervaux working as a producer and engineer (he is currently working with Spring Heel Jack and Treader records), and Crook working on a series of home recordings under the name 40,000 Ghosts. Having talked about collaborating for years, the two teamed up with vocalist Ahern to form Sian Alice group. With grandiose sounds in mind, the core trio brought in Sasha Vine on violin and piano, and for live shows have also added John Webster Johns and Douglas Hart, founding member of Jesus and Mary Chain.
The group spent the bulk of 2007 working on 59.59, a complex record that moves through traditional pop songwriting and dynamic instrumental composition while being tempered with studio improvisation. The title comes from the album’s running time and, as this suggests, 59.59 manipulates elements of texture, pacing and timbre as if it is one sweeping composition. It is an epic record that showcases the talent, range and ambition of this young group, taking in elements of various genres and making them their own. At a time when the musical landscape seems inundated with derivative retrogressive guitar bands, or acts reliant on sequenced beats and oscillator knobs, Sian Alice Group’s more classical inclinations show their willingness to tread their own path. 59.59 features contributions from John Coxon (Spring Heel Jack) and Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance).
During the recording sessions for 59.59 Sian Alice Group also completed an EP, The Dusk Line, featuring tracks comprised of just piano and voice. This will be released in May this year and will be followed up soon afterwards by a remix EP featuring contributions from Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), Spring Heel Jack, Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance) and Atlas Sound.