Review Summary: The Receiving End of Sirens loses track with their sound on their newest effort, and in turn develops an overly mixed sound with several lackluster tracks.3 of 5 thought this review was well written
Every time a band decides to further progress its sound, there is always an air of uncertainty surrounding their newest release. Many times the band uses the perfect formula and creates a fantastic album that develops the band’s sound further, a fine example being Thrice, with their 2005 album Vheissu
. The Receiving End of Sirens is another one of several bands that people feel are “emo” or that generic “post-hardcore” sound, but yet they have shown how they strive to different and not be lumped in with everybody else. The band’s 2005 release Between The Heart And The Synapse
proved to be an exceptionally strong full-length debut album, putting them above other bands who they may be considered akin to, but did not establish them as the forerunners of their genre, whatever it may be. But they did not want to just do the same thing over again, instead the band had a huge vision based around a vast concept. The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
was based upon a book of the same title written back in the 16th century. It suggested that each planet “sings” a tone as it orbits the sun, with the Earth singing “mi fa mi”, essentially representing “misery, famine, misery”. The experimental nature of the book and the albums title echoes what The Receiving End of Sirens attempts to do, but The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
does not exactly unveil a completely new form of the band.
Things start off very slowly on the album, with the opener, Swallow People Hole
being a complete bore of track. It’s as if the band’s definition of progression was to just make things slower, add a few more keys, and remove most of the energy from the song. The track feels as if it is building up, with more and more layers of sound being added as the song progresses, but the guitar lead at the very end does not cut it for a final explosion. The Salesman, The Husband, The Love
is another fine example of a band’s progression gone wrong. Nothing stands out in the track, instead it blends in as just another one of those “slower” tracks with the generic guitar lead in the chorus, the keys attempting to create an atmosphere in the verses, and weak vocal melodies throughout.
But not every song is just a poor effort at advancement. Some tracks take what the band did right on the previous album, and just add a small new element. Disappear (Oubliette)
and Smoke and Mirrors
both feel like they could have been on Between The Heart And The Synapse
, but the band brings in the more atmospheric sound onto both tracks, giving Smoke and Mirrors a mysterious feel with some heavy guitars in the chorus and a vocal melody that mixes well with the thick atmosphere created by some nifty guitar effects. Disappear (Oubliette) is a quick rocker with a strong usage of the guitar to fill in the empty space instead of the band's common choice to opt for keys instead.
Other tracks do not even remotely represent what the band’s sound on their previous album, with a very electronica-based influence on certain tracks, devoid of heavy guitar lines and pounding double bass. A Realization of the Ear
is highly keyboard based to create a dense atmosphere that drives the song through its lack of any formal drum beat, or rock-sounds at all. The melodious tone of the track makes it the perfect type of song to listen to while on adderall. Music of the Spheres
is also along these lines, except far more boring with absolutely no hooks at all, and is seemingly out of place in the album. Some songs find a middle ground between the electronica and the rock such as Stay Small
and Pale Blue Dot
, which are neither fully keyboard based sounds or upbeat rock. The problem with the two is that both lack a special element that makes them great songs, with both sounding just like a generic combination of the “generic slow, layered verse…slow, driving chorus with stereotypical guitar lead”.
However, some songs were done just perfectly and had a perfect mix of old and new sounds. Saturnus
begins with a loud intro and a strong guitar lead that calms down in the verse, before rising again in the chorus. The song highly resembles Thrice’s Of Dust And Nations
, with the fast paced, strong lead work in the first half of the song before moving into a very atmospheric middle section that the original part the track lead into perfectly. However, Saturnus
comes back up with a fast, powerful ending to round out the song. The albums crowning achievement comes with the epic The Heir of Empty Breath
. With a dark intro to kick things off, the stage of the song is set with an ominous feel, as if the end is near. Nothing stops as the vocal melodies are perfect, with a powerful chorus that continues the dark atmosphere, while the song continues to build upon itself, adding more and more tension to the song. Finally everything explodes into a powerful riff with intensely heavy drumwork behind it. Instead of continuing the heavy trend, or going back into the framework of the beginning of the song, the music suddenly comes to a halt. The dark atmosphere returns, except far softer and utilizing a combination of all instruments to provide a dense mix of sounds that represent the aftermath of sudden destruction until the song ends, easily making The Heir of Empty Breath
the best song on the album.
While The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
is not everything that it could have lived up to be, it does have some bright moments. Some songs show incredible potential for the band, while others make it seem as if the band is lost with what it wants to do. Instead of defining progression as just slower songs that are more atmospheric, The Receiving End of Sirens
needs an inspired sound that pushes them over the boundaries of their current, mixed sound.