Review Summary: Avoid traditional song structure. Break the rules. Recreate the genre.Prologue
Having two lead vocalists seems to have become a regular occurrence to see on a stage for all different genres of music in the modern world of music but could a band successfully pull off having three? As many linear notes suggest there are typically 2-3 vocalists with one real lead and the other two guys just having over produced one liners that merits his labeling in the linear notes. It’s safe to say that with this band when you have vocals as a title, your going to lead, harmonize, and back up no matter what your name is. “Between the Heart and the Synapse" is an extremely innovative, experimental, and ambitious album that takes the listener for a ride from start to finish. This band from Boston Massachusetts I’ve passed up for many months because of somewhat closed-mindness by myself and a genre representation that can’t cover all of this band’s internal blueprints. Everyone’s beloved Anthony Green (Saosin, Circa Survive) even is a fan of this band and does some guest vocals on top of the three strong vocalists they already have contributing. As much as I’ve mentioned the vocal arrangements in the first paragraph how would the instrumentals accompany this unique vocal group and in the end would it end up being fun?
Between The Heart And The Synapse
The album starts off with electronic ambience in it’s 42 second “Prologue”. As soon as the guitar enters subtly into the end of the prologue it leads right into the first single off of this album “Planning A Prison Break”. “Planning A Prison Break” is a perfect example of the taste that TREOS is going to leave with the listener. This song itself is catchy right from the beginning with it’s snare beat that sounds like a crowd clapping. The song breaks itself down in the chorus with heavy chording and sleek lead leaks. The verses stay ambient with a profound electronic sound and continues to be inviting to the listener with not much repetition. This is evident with all three of the vocalists take their piece of the pie. The pre-chorus and chorus might have the same exact lyrics but Alex and Brendan both trade off parts and give the lyrics a different sound through vocals. Casey takes over in the verse and is very much heard harmonizing with the interludes and outro. Overall I’d have to say that this was the first real song to sweep me off my feet from this band and it still has the same effect today. It’s the song I’d recommend someone who wants to get to know this band well since it portrays everything this band does with a lot of catchiness.
“The Rival Cycle” continues the music on a steady beat. As you listen to the album more and more you can really appreciate the multi-layering of the instrumentals and vocals. Much like Emery
this song is more oriented to two vocalists that almost make it sound like an Emery song. The piano pre-chorus is a great edition that builds up into a slow breakdown of a chorus where the guitar uses it’s “stop and go” chording to assist the music along. Through halfway of this song I started realizing how advanced the lyrics were and pleasing to the ears as much as the vocals are. The lyrics refuse to sound cliché and yet always stay clever. Around the late 2 minute mark the vocals just disappear and really show off the instrumental side of this band which in essence is a real treat.
“This Evidence” starts off slow with an electronic beat build up. Casey takes the lead of the vocals for awhile and really shows off his talent. He is probably my personal favorite vocalist of the 3 but saying that feels like a real injustice to the other guys. It almost feels like this song is a song that Circa Survive wishes they were able to write.
As the guitars here are nothing to fancy about the use of electronics and the catchiness is something that really could get my head bobbing. My favorite part of this song comes close to the 3 minute mark with it’s electronic vocal take over. This song and the previous ones on this album so far really do an excellent job captivating the listeners attention. “The War of All Against All” starts off slow but has a drum build up during the introduction. As soon as the guitars come in the song sounds like a pop-punk styled song throughout. This isn’t a bad song by any means but it’s the first song that I was really expecting more from. The song is still catchy and unwinds into a fast spinning turbine. The verses just don’t seem as textured as the previous songs were. The chorus though is a sing-a-long and a high point.
“…Then I Defy You, Stars” is another song that really shows off the lyrics of this band. This song packs real emotion with an almost scream/sing like chorus. Then, during the verses it feels like it’s just winding the listener up for that car-crash impact in the chorus. The bass dances around and pounds with the double bass and the guitar work is almost introducing new little licks throughout. “Intermission” isn’t like other bands “Intermissions”. Let’s just get that off my chest right away because I know a lot of you probably skip tracks that are titled like this. This song I’ve used in my car to make out with my girlfriend for.
It’s probably one of the most beautiful tracks that are mostly instrumentals throughout. The piano and mixing are absolutely gorgeous for really making a move on that girl that you like. It feels like an emotional part of a movie where that one song that you can’t forget about is at. I feel like this track is a good example of TREOS going all-out on the experimenting and using all there resources to produce a very quality track. Even if it is the “intermission”.
“This Armistice” is one of the longest tracks standing at 5 ½ minutes and is a real treat. People who are into the whole indie-electronic thing will fall in love with this track instantly. The vocal layering on this track is one of the best songs that really uses everyone as effectively as possible. The song has many up and down’s which makes it such a treat to listen too as it isn’t steady but more schizophrenic then anything. All instruments feel like they have a place in this song which is what a band is supposed to be all about right? Well the teamwork incorporated by all the instruments in this song really shine. The bass keeps the backbone beating in the verses, the guitars and electronics in the pre-chorus and chorus, and the drums in the interludes is always providing interesting fills. “Broadcast Quality” is one of the weirder and more unique introductions on this album but slowly unwinds into that pop-punk style of heavy chording and breakdown. Of course with the usual use of electronics and sexy fills that can even get me hard. The bass groove in this song is one of my favorites and I love playing bass to this song as it’s just jumpy, moving, and fun. The song is one that I presume they’ve got to play live as it seems like one of there more upbeat and crowd involving ones.
“Flee The Factory” has an introduction that makes me feel like I need to do aerobics or something. Even with another electronic intro, they always are able to change it up enough to get new and different sounds. The songs ambience really creates an eerie and mysterious atmosphere. At times I feel like I’m in a haunted house and this is the background noise that is playing. The song is definitely that different sounding and even has some screaming parts on it even though they aren’t going to be turning into Norma Jean or anything.
“Dead Men Tell No Lie” is my favorite underrated song off of this album. It’s the song that will go unnoticed by many but for those who listen through it- WOW. I love the beat and vocals on this song just as much as the arrangements made in “Planning A Prison Break”. As it does take more focus on synths and electronics, the chorus is still a relentless beat up with guitars and traditional pop-punk instruments. The harmonizing in the chorus is very moving to me. When the lead vocals switch people the song remains to be just as strong, if not stronger. Even at the 3 minute mark you can find the song still building up into a climatic finish which leaves no stones unturned and doesn’t rely on repetition. “Verona” is one of the only songs that you will find with vocals coming out right away and a palm muted introduction. It’s a nice swift change and is a faster paced song. After a minute the song goes through a short breakdown and re-positions itself with it’s vocals. Like all of the other songs on this album it finds itself at new paths even at the 3 minute mark and really feels like it’s always going somewhere new.
TREOS's sound is very multi-textured, with three guitars, three distinct vocalists, and perfect blend of electronica. On paper yeah it sounds amazing, and on execution- yeah… it’s amazing. I’m really convinced that there is something here for everyone, especially since a lot of people consider this “Indie” and most of my viewers are looking for my metal-core stuff. I really thoroughly enjoyed this album from start to finish which left me kicking me in my head for holding out on this CD for so long. At times the album finds itself extremely experiment with electronic sounds and mixing and at other times the songs still pack a pop-punk like edge to them. For me it’s an almost perfect balance. There’s enough here to not need to put you to sleep like a lot of other bands in this genre do, and yet it’s still innovative enough for the elitists to dig this. In the end it kind of leaves me thinking about the Refused like electronics with some Hot Water Music cleansing… Definitely will be something I will be listening too for a long, long, time.
The Receiving End of Sirens are:
Andrew Cook - Drums and Percussion
Alex Bars - Guitar and Vocals
Brendan Brown - Bass and Vocals
Casey Crescenzo - Guitar, Vocals, Piano, and Electric Sitar
Nate Patterson - Guitar
Original Release Date: April 26, 2005
Produced by Matt Squire and The Receiving End of Sirens
Label as produced: Triple Crown Records