Review Summary: Beautiful
You know there are just some of those bands that you never want to let go. Those bands that at first listen they make you want to jump up and down with glee and want to cry tears of joy at the same time. When I first heard After the Sirens
I didn’t know what hit me. I have never been a big fan of a lo-fi sound but when hearing this it seemed that the boundaries that I had imposed on myself musically had vanished. Instead of the pigheaded beefhead that I was, I began to feel emotions that I have never experienced before, the musical kaleidoscope that I had in my soul began to brighten. Sadly, being quite young and naïve, I decided to ignore my little angel on my shoulder and hardened my heart to this gem for the sake of being ‘the bro’ that I was.
Nearly three years had gone by and needless to say my younger self had all but vanished and I was actively and feverishly searching for all the music that this world can offer. Having decided to rely solely on the recommendations of others, my library of music was becoming quickly filled with excellent musicians and bands like Between the Buried and Me, Propaghandi, and The Postal Service. Aspects of every genre of music were mine for the taking. But I looked back and reminisced about the forgotten wonders of the mistakes that I had ran into during my early years and I had realized that while I had a plethora of quality music that I loved and adored, I had no individuality: I was simply the product of what others had made me into. After months of trying to recall the name of that one band that I had left in the dark for so many years and after mistakes and trial-and-errors galore I finally found my goal, After the Sirens debut album What I Have to Give, Let it Be Enough
The quickest way to sum this album up is by the simple adjective, beautiful. Even from first glance of the album artwork, it is hard to argue the elegance of the design and form and the music that this band has to offer is no different. The album flows seamlessly together from track to track and the accessibility of it also makes it even smoother for the ears. Switching from soft acoustic tracks like ‘White Noise With Grace Notes
’ and ‘Instead of Beauty, Branding
’ which features an excellently executed duet with male and female vocals, to faster upbeat indie/alternative tracks like ‘Curare On Your Lips
’ and the uplifting ‘Judah
’, After the Sirens takes you through a lo-fi journey that will surely make a lasting impression on the listener which culminates in the final epic piano ballad of ‘A Waning
’, one of the greatest outro songs I have ever heard in a CD.
Another aspect to write about is the placement of lyrics and the delivery of them. After the Sirens vocalist Ryan Heidorn could get an entire page devoted to his vocal style alone. In very short version, one could describe his vocals to be a more refined, less bombastic, and honed in version of current Emarosa singer Jonny Craig. His Christian upbringing is also prevalent throughout the entire record, with subtle references to Jesus Christ and his love and dedication to Him. The song ‘Prayers for Donations
’ is also a stellar track that exposes his witnessing of the how the Church uses religion and salvation to help one get to Heaven, reminiscent to the fifteenth century Roman Catholic church and their sale of indulgences, where Heidorn simply ‘wants what he (I) came here for, forgiveness and nothing more’.
However, after knowing so many bands from all sorts of genres and subgenres, one can recognize the flaws in this album, if miniscule at worst. One thing to address is the glitchy electronica influences that can be heard in ‘Curare On Your Lips
’ can really discourage a listener to continue further, as this has become a major gimmick in the indie world. Though to compare After the Sirens to bands like Attack Attack! and We Came As Romans would be a mistake as is it arguable that After the Sirens pulls it off in a ‘non-gimmicky’ way. Another thing to argue is the overall ‘scene factor’ throughout the entire album: though released in 2006 and not specifically catering to the tween, Rise Record gobbling crowd, After the Sirens features very accessible music that can be compared to todays Dance Gavin Dance and The Postal Service and the similarities found throughout the album can also discourage listeners as well.
But in conclusion, After the Sirens proves that they had what it takes to craft one of the most elegantly crafted album found in the murky waters of todays music scene. It is a shame that after one year of releasing this album After the Sirens decided to call it quits, yet this can also come as a good sign as it would have been very unlikely that they could have topped this opus that is What I Have to Give, Let it Be Enough. It is a very true statement that good things never last.