“Your gross fabrication of pretense could bore,
Yet still I fall victim to syntax omitted,
Just shy of something I could understand
So blissful, I press on to the sound of the organs
Playing their most convincing tunes
As they serenade to the parade of paid-off parts.

And now the only thing left to discuss is
The details of this armistice
We’ve come to this agreement.

Check my vitals
The truth is vile, but vital to this cause
I’ve been held hostage;
A captive of this passive shell
Give me gravity, give me clarity,
Give me something to rely on.


The debut from The Receiving End of Sirens turned 10 yesterday, reminding me of how often I’ve been playing “This Armistice.” The whole album, named off of the closing track’s most poignant, memorable lyrics, is really full and profound – that opening chorus from “Planning a Prison Break” is something fierce. But this song is the perfect example of perfect post-hardcore and everything that is/was cool about it: mixing vocal prowess with guitar madness, weaving closely-related stanzas for overlapping harmonies,and playing recklessly with rhythm and keyboard effects. Finger tapping excellence abounds.

This song is composed. This song is operatic. This song throws down, boils over and doesn’t look back as it leaves a trail of hopeless desperation.

TREOS was, and remains, one of the smarter bands of the post-hardcore genre, and so they endured. They write with sophisticated verbs, they sing with choral-style gang vocals before any screaming comes into play. Their breakdowns wash in and over the listener, like waves of angst-tinged distortion pushed back by off-kilter piano. With songs this moody, it’s easy to see TREOS blend in with the themes of the era, but listen a little harder and I think you find pieces and parts of compositions that push the boundaries of rock music into prog territory. Bottom line, they dress up aggression in a dramatic outfit, making screaming and loud guitars part of a greater sound instead of for the sake of being loud. They do this really well.

Their follow-up to “Between the Heart and the Synapse,” called “The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi,” executes on a greater level. I do not think it was as critically acclaimed but I think it shows a keen sense of timing and setting, and also the blending of studio instruments with key-sprouted parts and auxiliary….just enough digital to feel modern but not enough to feel phoned in. Been a long while since I listened to it, and on a somewhat dreary spring day, their fullness and darkness exacerbates the mood.

On a related note, singer-songwriter Casey Crescenzo was in town recently but I was not available to attend. Wonder if he played more TREOS or The Dear Hunter, which is also good and worth listening to. TREOS remains one of the most yearned for reunions in the scene, I think, because their sound is so beyond the scene itself, hitting all the right notes for drama and passion and anger without sacrificing a spine or musical integrity. Among those of us who aim to create, who aim to imprint, should we all be so skilled and focused to funnel our feelings while exploring depth and ingenuity within the medium.

“Oh, how I’ve been teething 

In light of your misleading
You’ve caused this collapse 
Between the heart and the synapse

We’re all puppets
We’re all marionettes
We’re all puppets
We’re all marionettes
.”

~This Armistice 
The Receiving End of Sirens, Between the Heart and the Synapse