Flume, Caroline Polachek – Sirens
Earlier this year, Flume announced his upcoming new album Palaces, his first since 2016, with a single featuring MAY-A. Surprisingly, the comeback single seemed to gesture at a change in direction for the Australian producer away from his signature style of post-dubstep / future-bass toward poppier waters. Say Nothing was mostly absent from the staccato half-time bursts of synth and percussion synonymous with Flume, instead taking up a sort of afrobeat-cum-kudro cadence that felt somewhat alien within his scope and oddly ‘on trend’ for someone oft regarded as a trendsetter.
Sirens, the second single from the upcoming project, is a welcome course correction. Featuring Caroline Polachek, the track is a haunting and serpentine piece that sees Flume return to his strengths but update the sound for the age of hyperpop. Polachek is arguably one of the most enchanting voices in current pop, a sort of new-age Kate Bush / Björk hybrid who continuously pushes the boundaries of form and melody. Here she assumes the role of forlorn temptress, full of longing and deep melancholy while delivering another spellbinding hook. Behind her, Flume’s breaks and synths race and then collapse, a stuttering metallic leviathan that twists and eats itself whole as Polachek casts her spell.
Speaking on the song, Polachek revealed “I was living by myself in London, and it was the darkest time in the pandemic. I was really going through it, feeling so small, unable to control anything in the world, and the lyric ‘sirens’ was in reference to constant ambulances I was hearing.” The dichotomy between the siren and the sirens Polachek speaks of are beautifully explored in the track by way of the contrast between her impossibly haunting vocals and Flume’s waning mechanical sounds. This one lingers long after it’s left.
Listen to Sirens below and pre-order Palaces here.