Album Review: SIRES — Soul For Sale


Soul For Sale

Sires - Soul for Sale

Dylan Sires is a sellout.

Or, at least that is what he wants you to believe. After a few years slugging it out as Dylan Sires and Neighbors, the Waterloo three-piece with a penchant for ’50s and ’60s rock and pop is laying all their cards on the table with a reboot as simply SIRES, and their ace in the hole is the new album Soul For Sale. Sires said, in a quote from their press release: “This album was made to be heard, and, if I had a soul to sell, it’d be on Amazon.”

Bringing powerhouse producer Brandon Darner into the fold was a smart move — his work on the new Holy White Hounds and Halfloves records transformed those bands’ sound to contemporary and radio-friendly with catchy, pulsing singles. With Soul For Sale, Darner’s hand has guided the album to a kind of bi-polar experience. Songs like “My Everything,” “Feeling Right” and “Gods of Love” all carry a sunny, classic ‘60s pop rock sound: Phil Spector-esque wall-of-sound symphonic layers of strings and harps. A signature snare and tambourine. A lot of XTC Oranges and Lemons vibes (Sires sings a little like Andy Partridge). Beach Boy “ba ba ba”s. And harmonies, lots of luscious harmonies.

On the other pole we have what’s become a Darner signature — distorted bass guitar and percussion on songs like the uber-catchy sing-along “She’s Into Me,” followed by the power-pop “Turn It Up.” Continuing this sound is track seven, the spooky “Deep In The Dark,” where the hook is delivered by harmonic ghostly “ooooo”s and the beat is propelled by the asynchronous kick drum.

The transition between these stylistic differences is made less jarring than one would expect, due to even-handed production and well-planned sequencing of the songs. Sires admits, “We tried to weave a thread through the middle to keep it feeling like an album.” The album builds to the dark final track, “Mordu Too,” which starts with a simple piano and vocal tribute to “My Funny Valentine,” adds in the drums briefly and builds to almost a Queen chorus when it ends. (Fun fact: the song was originally called “Chet Baker” due to the “Valentine” similarity).

If SIRES did sell their soul for this rock and roll, they got their money’s worth. They’ve crafted an album packed with smart, bright classic hooks as well as dark, lusty bombastic rhythms: an impressive juxtaposition in contrast.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 208.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Iowa City Book Festival

Oct. 18-24

A celebration of books, writing and ideas

Find Out More


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.