If I were to guess what year of my life had the greatest impact on my taste in music, I could easily say it was the year 2007. I was a freshman in college, I had money saved up from my summer job, and I went to every possible concert that interested me in the slightest. I met new people, whether coworkers, classmates, or other concert-goers. It took these early interactions for my music taste to evolve into what it is today. I want to dedicate the next few posts on this blog to those bands that I have discovered through others around this time in my life. I want to first bring up the band I learned of through some coworkers, that band being the now-defunct The Receiving End of Sirens.
Originally fronted by The Dear Hunter singer Casey Crescenzo before he left the band, The Receiving End of Sirens (nicknamed TREOS from now on) consisted of singer/bassist Brendan Brown, singer/guitarist Alex Bars, drummer Andrew Cook, and guitarists/keyboarders Brian Southall and Nate Patterson. Their sound is a mix of post-hardcore, experimental rock, and even moments of progressive rock, being my first taste of the genre. Despite the popularity and overall approval of a Crescenzo-fronted TREOS, I have to admit that their second and final album “The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi” is my favorite album they’ve released.
“The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi” is one of the most airy albums I’ve ever heard. There is so much atmosphere generated by sound effect pedals, echoed guitar patterns and synthy keyboards throughout the album, especially in the songs “Smoke and Mirrors” and “Swallow People Whole.” I feel like if I were to close my eyes when listening to this album, I would feel like I’m floating in space. The song “A Realization of the Ear” has so much atmosphere, is so soft and fluffy that I cannot help but relax. The majority of this album has this feel, but is in no way restricted to this sound alone. If those previous songs will put you at ease, the songs “Saturnus” and “The Heir of Empty Breath” will give you a rude awakening. The downright hardcore sound dominates these songs, led by Cook’s awesome and intricate drumming.
From the best of my interpretation, the meaning behind the lyrics of this album center around a broken family plagued with different sins, or around Earth’s interaction with mankind. As I have mentioned in the past, I like to view albums as concepts (whether or not they actually are) to better understand the meaning behind individual songs and collectively. “The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi” does fall into this category, though. The main character has interactions with all sorts of people and themes throughout the album, including the sins of inaction, lust, divorce, regret, etc. The lyrics to the song “The Salesman, The Husband, The Lover” seem to perfectly sum up the position the main character is in, as sin is perpetuated from his father and ultimately he treats his own children the same way. Singer Brendan Brown originally posted videos which explained the meaning behind each song, but has since been removed. If you’re interested in hearing different opinions from others around the album’s concept, you can visit the site Songmeanings. The different interpretations of this album is what makes “The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi” so interesting, since the listener can imagine a different scenario with every listen and end with a completely different interpretation.
The greatest aspect of this album is the passionate dual vocals of Brendan Brown and Alex Bars. There are so many different times in this album that both vocalists share duties, and many times when each vocalist sings different lines in the verses and choruses of songs. Brown’s and Bars’ vocals are so emotional in the song “Stay Small,” a song in the point of view of a parent thinking of his child. Such a moving song, I can’t help but stop and collect myself between this song and the next. The first verse and chorus of this song are very moving to me now that I reflect on these lyrics as a parent myself:
“Son, I’m sorry for this world / and all the awful things she’ll do to you / If you only knew what you’d endure before you were born / I haven’t got a single doubt you would have not come out / And I would have known it was for the better…
…I know you’ll grow but I wish I knew you’d stay small / If I said so / Please just don’t grow, please just don’t grow / Stay small, won’t you stay small” (source)
The album concludes beautifully with the instrumental ending of “The Heir of Empty Breath,” which transitions to the final song “Pale Blue Dot,” a title in homage to Carl Sagan. Mentioned briefly in a previous post, Sagan is known for his monumental speech before his passing, which for lack of space I will not summarize here. As for “Pale Blue Dot” the song, the use of sound effects, drum machines, keyboards and synthesizers makes this song one of my favorite songs to close an album. Too beautiful and meaningful to summarize, let TREOS speak on Sagan’s and my behalf with the song’s first verse:
“I watched my guilt blossom before me like a tender shoot / With thirsty roots, oh, how my garden grows / The shameful seeds I’ve sown I watched its stems sprawl above me / Its dark shadow cast its cloud around me / But I can live with it, I’ll live in it / There’s no place like home” (source)
I recommend “The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi” to those readers out there that adore post-hardcore and experimental rock, or who want a meaningful concept to think about while listening to music. TREOS is easily comparable to the bands The Dear Hunter, Slaves, Pierce the Veil, Dance Gavin Dance, Tides of Man, and Sleeping With Sirens. Although this band is not currently together anymore, I would still recommend you all to listen to “The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi” and their previous release “Between the Heart and the Synapse.” Tell me which album you prefer below!