Review Summary: "I Hear Sirens" don't fail to deliver their two cents of Post Rock and although it's everything but a revolution they sound much more mature.
After their professional yet unoriginal self titled EP debut "I Hear Sirens" returns with their first LP. Those who were expecting a revolution will inevitably be disappointed, but those who liked their debut will rejoice as their second effort is a slight improvement and somewhat more emotional presentation.
The first thing I noticed about Beyond the Sea, Beneath the Sky is that the band retained their poetic way of naming songs. Tough the names of the songs aren't as long as on their EP they carry more weight in meaning. The album art is dark this time around, somber, combining scarlet and red with black unlike the pale blue and white of their EP. This also carries meaning as the melodies on the cd are melancholic, somber and rather slow. Despite their rather tedious pace the compositions do a surprisingly good job at retaining my attention, though the album isn't one I'd play daily, or even weekly.
The album has a rather slow start with "O Failing Vessel, Brave The Violent Sea," however a minute into the song an epic sound engulfs the listener which then is drawn out for two minutes. The song has a chilling and beautiful outro but lasts for more than three minutes and ultimately makes me skip it entirely. " Pale Moon, Guide Us Ashore" has a beautiful piano melody yet suffers from repetition. The first half of " Drowning City Skyline" suffers from similar boredom, yet the second part comes across slightly more interesting. " From The Clock Tower" is easily the best track on the cd with an enchanting tune that haunts my thoughts every time I listen to it and even the culmination doesn't disappoint although the ending is yet again too long. " The March" feels out of place on the LP as it's a somewhat happy tune although like most of the other tracks it's very repetitive. However " Deception Has A Way With Words" ups the somber mood of the release with eerie piano chords followed by a guitar tune screaming desperation and surprisingly the culmination doesn't destroy the harmony but even complements it, however it does last a bit too long. The song ends with the same piano chords, a perfect closure. " The Faint Reflection Of Stars" has the most dreamy melody I've ever heard, truly stargazerish (forgive me the expression) but it's more of a filler as it's the same melody throughout the track. Luckily the song is only three and a half minutes long so it doesn't get boring, if only they and all other post rock bands followed that pattern. The intro of " Breath On Glass" has a strange effect on me, I can't help but imagine myself waving goodbye to people close to me waiting to board a train and never to come back. In the middle of the track vocals start to intertwine supporting the feeling of farewell. Rarely do I hear vocals in a Post Rock song, but "Hammock" and "As I Hear Sirens" utilize it perfectly and so ends the LP in a satisfactory way.
After a couple of plays it's obvious the LP is meant to be listened to entirely and not chopped up in singles even though the songs are separated. However it's hard to recommend and even harder to listen to the boring, tedious and drawn out tracks as one already has to be tolerant to the boring and repetitive parts of those songs that are to be recommended. Nevertheless "I Hear Sirens" don't fail to deliver their two cents of Post Rock and although it's everything but a revolution they sound much more mature. The question is are they satisfied with such slow but steady progression or will they step it up a notch.