The Receiving End of Sirens: The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi

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Written By:

Aidan Williamson

06th August 2007
At 01:16 GMT

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The power to transport the listener is a rare gift in music, it's fairly easy to get a toe-tapping, but to get the eyes closing and all sensory power diverted to the audial, that is a uncommon achievement.

On their second album, The Receiving End of Sirens (TREOS) adopt a dual focus, simultaneously dealing with the galactic and the introspective, while unexpectedly always managing to bond the two together. The title "The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi" pertains to a 16th century astronomical theory, which suggests that each of the planets in our solar system produces a tone as it orbits the sun. The earth producing the notes that correspond with Mi Fa and Mi on the vocal scale (Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do) The theorist Kepler then goes on to state that Mi Fa Mi stands for "Misery, Famine, and Misery". The song that the earth sings for all time, never being able to change.

It's this theme that runs through the album, urging us to step back from things and see how beautiful they are, because when you place humanity under a microscope it can only get ugly. That's a lot to achieve from music, and TREOS pack so much into their songs that initial reaction is a cacophony of noise punctuated by generic vocals, but dig deeper and you'll see that "...Mi Fa Mi" has more layers to it than Dante's Inferno (at least ten). Songs often consist of three vocalists, layers of synths, coupled with the usual instruments fed through aeons of delay and modulation. Yet despite this seizing of the outer limits of audiocity, the band never give way to an air of self-indulgence.

The box is good enough, but when the boys break out of it, like during the conclusion of "Saturnus" or the last third of "Wanderers" it makes for something truly special. Even the increasingly familiar musical interlude ("Music of the Spheres") is given a reboot, cutting up fragments of what's gone before, forcing the brain to recall the things they have experienced before (or possibly instilling a sense that the CD might of skipped back and keeps playing the song rather oddly). All prepares you well for the final onslaught of the two 7-minute set closers.

"There's no place like home, there's no place like home." a lyric which is repeated in the final moments of the album, with almost an air of desperation which begs to be woken up from this macarbe existence, wishing, hoping that it could all be a dream. after asking the question, would the ultimate act of love for our children be not to conceive them? You don't get that in a Kate Nash record do you!

Rating:  9 / 10

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