Review Summary: A swirl of torment and, hidden somewhere, beauty.
Only one word is capable of latching itself onto The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
: exhausting. It's exhausting to listen to, exhausting to write about, exhausting to think
about; it's like a black hole from which nothing can escape, least of all light. With all that said, it's painfully catchy, but painfully
is the right word; you can almost feel its hooks pummeling you, each one familiar but not quite recurring. Such is the claustrophobic nature of The Receiving End Of Sirens' second LP: it exists in the same vortex as Radiohead's Kid A
, somehow impossible to break apart and completely in denial of the outside world.
Even when the band adopt a softer approach than their default swirling rock/post-hardcore, like the choral section at the end of "A Realization Of The Ear", the voices surround you, intent on locking you in a moment of beauty rather than letting it flow anywhere. Elsewhere, the cages are built from twisting, screeching guitar lines, abrasive electronics, and overwhelming vocal harmonies, all of which is produced in such a way as to submerge you underneath, throwing your arms at the tales of tragedy and loss and pain that Brendan Brown labours over.
The floodgates, though, are shut for a reason, and that reason is "The Pale Blue Dot", the album's closing track, harbouring one of those moments you just have
to hear again. In isolation, it's innocuous, but under the weight of everything that's come before, when the dam breaks, it releases all the pent-up emotions of the last eleven tracks in one exhilarating rush. This is how to build an album, one which relies on every iota of itself to achieve that final climax. The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
is a difficult record, there can be no doubt, but its brilliance is ultimately so rewarding. It's a record which writhes in discomfort from start to finish, letting its pain conduct epic and suffocating waves of sound until it finally all collapses in on itself, and you wonder how on earth you got so far from home.