Small Million releases ‘Sirens’ calling out the male gaze in an indie-synth hymn
Hailing from Portland, USA, indie-duo Small Millions released a new hymn-filled song, ‘Sirens’. Taken from their Young Fools EP due to be released on the 12th of October, ‘Sirens’ tackles the notion of the male gaze where most stories and advertisements are told from the perception of a man. Small Millions formed with a chance meeting between producer Ryan Linder and vocalist Malachi Graham. Inspired by the likes of Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes and First Aid Kit, they’ve cultivated their sound to bring forth cultivated harmonies and layered production. Since their chance inception, they have seen success with their release of ‘Six Feet’ which was included in the PDX Pop Now! Compilation in 2014. Small Millions is a fine addition to any playlist and any indie lover should take note.
Ryan Linder’s rich and textured synths build up on the backdrop letting you go every now and then. It eb and flows like the swell of the ocean, similar to the nautical theme that encapsulates ‘Sirens’ where indie, electronic music, and folk are perfectly combined in Small Million’s delivery. Malachi Graham delivers flawless vocal work throughout as her siren-voice lures you in. A song that feels nostalgic yet fresh, Small Million truly shines on this record. The backing hymns combined with the occasional voice modulation makes for a old-school new-school crossover sound that’s hard to ignore. ‘Sirens’ focuses on the legendary folktale of an alluring siren-song luring in sailors to their demise. It twists the tale of the ages on its head, as this is not a song to stroke the male ego with beings whose existence is dependent on the men who come ashore, but rather the sirens love each other. It’s not about the men, it’s about the sirens. It’s a story for them and the men are simply a sub-plot instead of the usual main storyline. Vocalist and lyricist Malachi Graham said of ‘Sirens’: “I wanted to retell the traditional mythology of seductive sirens luring sailors to their death from an angle where the sirens don’t give a fuck about the men and are in love with each other. I think so many narratives have been told from a presumptuous male perspective where straight men assume they are the protagonists and a story is all about them. In this case I wanted to reframe it so these sirens are singing love songs to each other that the men overhear and assume is a “show” for their own benefit, but they’re a sideshow to the real passionate love story. With the line “I’m not the promised land” I’m trying to call out a male gaze perspective of women as territory to be conquered, or as property that they are owed, without taking female agency and desires into account. Fuck that!”