Review Summary: ‘The Whites Of Our Lies’ can only truly be appreciate when you let yourself become completely lost within it
If you have ever found yourself alone in the wilderness, completely surrounded by nature, you will know what it feels like to embrace all the sounds around you. You can’t alter these sounds, but you can become completely immersed in them; it adds to the overall experience of being at one with the landscape. Sometimes music can give the listener that same feeling, except they are submersed in a sonic landscape that can ignite feelings and trigger emotional reactions. One artist I believe creates such a rich musical landscape goes by the name Cyrenic; and his debut album ‘The White Of Our Lies’ is something very special indeed.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Cyrenic, ‘The Whites Of Our Lies’ was released in 2008 and is completely constructed by one man, Brian Zuckerman. That’s right; everything you see and hear on this debut album was created by one person. Brian Zuckerman played and recorded each instrument individually, tracked all the vocals himself and oversaw the whole albums production by himself. The album opens with vocals that sound like a distant echo, before a blazing guitar riff enters your ears and fades out to a sharp drum beat. The soft, whispering vocals create a great dynamic over the haunting musical arrangement which is explored further throughout the rest of the album. The second track ‘Timeless’ makes a slow introduction beginning with soft strokes of acoustic guitar and hints of slow ambient piano. ‘Timeless’ deals with the theme of lies and although the lyrics are delivered with the use of autotune, they still manage to sound sincere. After the second chorus, grungy guitar enters whilst symbols crash; bringing what was a quiet song to a loud ending which then fades out atmospherically.
The emotions are kicked up a notch with the next song ‘The Whites Of Your Lies’ and the chorus leaves a lasting effect on the listener by offering relatable lyrics. The depth of this song is amazing and it is a prime example of the talent of Brian Zuckerman. On the fourth track ‘Immune’ Brian finally has the help of another person, who is the sole contributor to this album; Adria Zuckerman. Here the duo take turns in singing verses whilst grim guitar and lingering plucks of bass haunt the senses. The use of a lighter female voice on this track overlayed with Brian’s lower heartfelt timbre creates a great dynamic, which makes this track a must hear.
The mid section of ‘The Whites Of Our Lies’ continues to showcase Cyrenic’s use of piano, guitar and haunting vocals, delivered in heavy and light arrangements. From this point on you really know what to expect with the rest of the album and feel as though Cyrenic has already created the basis for its own identity. The best example of this is the song ‘Fractured’ which combines dark, moody piano textures and vocals that send chills up your spine. The piano throughout the bridge remains hopeful before becoming beautifully dark and evocative. The albums closer ‘Tears Of Rain’ brings together all the instruments experimented with so far. Soft piano which sounds like falling rain, combined with Phil Collins-esque drumming and a moving string section all ensure this album doesn’t fade out without one more bang. Crashing symbols and pleading vocals bring this album down to its very last lyric “... truth is all that’s left”. This proves interesting since the very first lyric on the album is “believe the lies I tell you”. It seems this theme of lies ends with the man behind Cyrenic finding solace within expression and helps the album end on an optimistic note.
‘The Whites Of Our Lies’ is the pinnacle of one person bringing their artistic visions to life and executing them without any outside interruptions. With this debut Cyrenic appeals to fans of softer piano driven bands such as The Fray whilst mixing it with melodic hard rock much like the old Evans Blue. It amazes me how all this has been masterminded by one individual and how the music can consume the listener in such a lush musical soundscape. ‘The Whites Of Our Lies’ can only truly be appreciate when you let yourself become completely lost within it.