Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

After the Sirens-What I Have to Give, Let it Be Enough

January 1, 2007

afterthesirensBand Name: After the Sirens

Album Name: What I Have to Give, Let it Be Enough

Best Element: A rare gem

Genre: Post-Hardcore

Website: http://www.afterthesirens.com

Label Name: Blue Duck Records

Band E-mail: sirens@afterthesirens.com

After the Sirens’ What I Have to Give, Let it Be Enough is a rare gem in the post-hardcore genre. From start to finish, this is an album that is polished to perfection, both in musicianship and production quality.

First and foremost, the music is absolutely stunning. Frontman Ryan Heidorn has a smooth, emotional vocal quality that just takes your breath away with its sensitive soul. The music is intricately written, beautiful and soothing all at the same time. And then there are the lyrics.

What I Have to Give, Let it Be Enough is so eloquently written that there is not a bad song to be found. Each song is a brilliantly written, moving, and thought-provoking poem that just tugs at your heartstrings and won’t let you go. It brings you into the moment, and then gently transitions you into the next one, keeping you captivated from song to song, until gently letting you go at the end.

With this album, After the Sirens has created a genuine masterpiece that is not to be missed.

-Andrea Caruso

Sunshine131@gmail.com

After the Sirens-We Have No White Flags

February 1, 2006

afterthesirens

Band Name: After the Sirens

Album Name: We Have No White Flags

Best Element: Hybrid mix of indie-pop and hardcore
Genre: Indie-pop/hardcore
Website: www.afterthesirens.com

Label Name: Blue Duck Records (www.blueduckrecords.com)

Band E-mail: sirens@afterthesirens.com

I was extremely surprised when I heard After the Sirens’ album We Have No White Flags. Not content to excel at one genre, After the Sirens have crafted an album that combines two completely unrelated genres: indie-pop and hardcore. That’s right- After the Sirens actually fuses two of the most disparate genres I can think of. What’s amazing is that the sound actually works- every time. Whether it’s an indie-pop song that ratchets up to a burning hardcore epic (“Hemlock is the New Mistletoe”) or a post-hardcore song with indie-pop style melodies and harmonies (“Red Letter Ransom”, standout track “We Have No White Flags”), After the Sirens know how to write an amazing song.

It seems like the sound would fail because the genres are so distant from each other, but it succeeds due to the serious chops of the players. They can churn out brutal hardcore songs (title track “We Have No White Flags”) and straight indie-pop songs (the beautiful, Jimmy Eat World-ish “Arietta”) with the same amount of ease, so they upped the ante by combining both of these genres. The results of this fusion are their best songs: “We Have No White Flags” and “Caesura.” I’ll do a play-by-play of “Caesura” because it was the first track to really catch my attention.

“Caesura” starts off as a twinkly indie-pop song that calls up Death Cab for Cutie comparisons, but the solid, no-nonsense melodic style cuts off any comparisons to Ben Gibbard and co. The vocals here are stunning- full of clarity and earnestness tone, they cut through fake emotion straight to the heart of the matter. These highly expressive vocals continue to call while the song continues upwards in intensity to a dramatic rock explosion of quick-strummed guitars and huge chords. The intensity suddenly drops down to a Jimmy Eat World-esque melancholy as a section of extremely beautiful guitar work enters, then fades the song out- until the death metal scream of “FATHER” comes in. This kicks off just over a minute of pure, gut-wrenching hardcore. Segueing straight from an indie pop elegy into an abusive hardcore piece….who’s got guts to pull that off? The shock I had first time I heard it was somewhat akin to the impact of skydiving without a parachute.

That’s their signature: beautiful, twinkly guitar work and soft interactions that give way rather suddenly to violent explosions of sound. They’ve become the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of rock music: gentle and thoughtful one moment, rageful and violent the next. Yet both sides are treated with equal attention, resulting in a very clear establishment of their individual style.

Hybrids are a funny breed. Always talented, but often criminally unappreciated due to lack of a proper scene to fit in, hybrids often die on the vine, their genius untapped. I hope this will not be the case for After the Sirens, as its members have crafted one of the more intriguing hybrid sounds I’ve ever heard in We Have No White Flags.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@Hotmail.com

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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