The Outro – The Receiving End of Sirens

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The Outro is a new column here on Under the Gun Review to honor our favorite bands from the past decade that made their mark in their respective genres but have since come to the unanimous decision to move on from their confluence and pursue alternative enterprises. Providing an in depth look at the featured band’s career as well as interviews with the bands themselves regarding their departure, The Outro is sure to have you feeling a spell of nostalgia as you reconnect with your favorite acts that we’ve lost in recent years.

THE INTRO

We are gathered here today to mourn the loss of a boundary-breaking Massachusetts indie rock outfit. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the original sounds and creative concepts that were shared with us by The Receiving End Of Sirens

This was a time when true experimentation was a rarity and it seemed that bands of the genre stuck to a specific protocol when it came to songwriting and creativity. Albums seldom contained tracks exceeding 3 minutes in length, song structures were exhausted, and a lot like pop-punk and other genres that were big at the time, vocalists were all starting to sound the same. The Receiving End Of Sirens had the courage and the prowess to break the mold and display a new direction in indie-rock/post-hardcore.

The band was formed in 2003 and lived out a six year career with a few drastic line-up changes that were evident in their sound as it gradually changed from their first EP to their full-length The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi, which was their last release before a re-issue of their first full-length album, Between The Heart And The Synapse.

Quickly after their formation, TREOS began drawing huge crowds with their three-tiered vocal harmonies, catchy choruses and electronic elements while on Warped Tour in 2005 as well as their first headlining tour shortly thereafter with support from As Tall As Lions, A Thorn For Every Heart, Hit the Lights, and I Am The Avalanche. After a year of what seemed to be non-stop touring, Casey Crescenzo, who many considered to be the driving force of the band, left TREOS to permanently focus on his side project which is now popularly known as The Dear Hunter.

After the release of their second full-length and the welcomed addition of Brian Southall (formerly of Boys Night Out), the unfortunate decision was made in March of 2008 that the band would do one final tour and move on to pursue the things they needed to in life. Absolutepunk made the following statement regarding their final show (at the time):

“Casey Crescenzo played with The Receiving End of Sirens last night at their final headlining show in Providence, Rhode Island. They played 21 songs (technically 22 because the crowd got them to play “Planning a Prison Break” twice) – almost every track spanning their three CD discography. A fan (Brandon) also proposed to his girlfriend on stage during the set & they are now engaged! It was truly an eve of magic & delight. The band will be greatly missed by their fans, and we wish them each the best of luck in the future!”

TREOS occasionally still play shows when time allows (including this year’s Bamboozle Festival on Friday, May 18), but the chances of the band’s permanent reformation is slim to none, as you will read in the forthcoming interview below.

“I’ve got this little itch that I never learned to scratch. It seems that even if I had, I’d rather itch than not when the pleasure is the lesser and it’s giving to the pressure of an ever growing lust and an always present want.”

THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I’m a fanatic for digging up all that is new and fascinating. In the spring of 2005 I was on SmartPunk (which I actually didn’t know still existed until just now) looking for new albums from whatever bands I was into at the time (Underoath, A Thorn For Every Heart, Emery, etc.) when I came across some interesting cover art with an equally interesting band name. I checked it out…

There was one track available for streaming and it only took that one track for me to consider myself completely hooked. “Planning a Prison Break” was the cause of my very first pre-ordered full-length album. Less than a month after I had just pre-ordered Circa Survive’s The Inuit Sessions EP (This will be somewhat relevant soon). Between The Heart And The Synapse became my night and day. It easily dominated the “most played” on my BriPod and I can only imagine that my friends were getting tired of hearing me rant and rave about its glory. At one point, I bought an outlet converter for my friend’s car which had no working CD player or tape deck so that we could hook up our boombox (with a broken battery terminal) just to listen to that album on our trips and such. I guess you could say I was obsessed.

After I had first received BtHatS in the mail and thoroughly listened through a dozen times or so, I commented on TREOS’ Myspace page to tell them how much I enjoyed it and their bassist Brendan quickly commented back with, “Thanks! Next time we’re in the area we’ll pick you up in the van, dudebro.” That never happened unfortunately but it’s always refreshing to know when bands care about that intimate connection with their fans to even take the time to say something of the like.

The records I listened to in my high school years that have stood the test of time for me can likely be counted on one hand. Emery’s The Weak’s End, He Is Legend’s I Am Hollywood, and Circa Survive’s Juturna stand out in my mind, but along with those, Between The Heart And The Synapse is still, to this day, frequent in my rotation.

“‘Fix your broken eyes on me,” she said as she draped her arms around my head. But her wrists felt just like rope. Like rope as they grazed my neck, and her fingers, like spiders, spun a web my body couldn’t shed.”

In the summer of 2006, I made it out to a TREOS show at Slim’s in San Francisco as they and Portugal. The Man were in support of Circa Survive on The Twilight Army Tour (nothing to do with sparkling vampires). The show was incredible to say the least. I was elated to see three of my favorite bands sharing the stage in one night and although this was post-Casey Crescenzo, TREOS still put on one hell of a show, with an obvious highlight being Anthony Green joining them on stage and lending his vocals to their track “Flee the Factory”. (That’s the relevant part to having pre-ordered The Inuit Sessions EP and Between The Heart And The Synapse around the same time with no knowledge of a connection between the bands.)

THE INTERVIEW

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with drummer Andrew Cook (currently manager of The Dear Hunter) and guitarist Brian Southall (formerly of Boys Night Out) who were kind enough to answer some questions pertaining to the break-up of The Receiving End Of Sirens…

What lead to the decision for The Receiving End Of Sirens to part ways?
Andrew Cook: The major deciding factor was Brendan’s choice to pursue a family. When the band broke up, we were getting by, but we weren’t making the kind of money one needs to start a family. Everyone felt a lot of pressure when the second album didn’t take off in the way we had hoped, and instead of sticking together and powering through, we let the real world pressures force our hand a little bit. That’s not to say that I regret the decision, I think it had to be done either way. But I often wish we would’ve kept going and made that elusive third record. 

What are the members doing now?
Andrew Cook: Alex is saving the world. Nate has been in Aruba for the last 4 months and is always writing music on his own. Brendan is a proud daddy and running his own social media company. Brian is on tour right now with his new project The Company We Keep, and Casey is doing The Dear Hunter, as well as producing records.  

What will you miss most about being a part of TREOS?
Andrew Cook: The creative energy between the guys in the band. It all started so organically, and came so naturally, that it felt like a part of me. When it was gone, I was very depressed for a long time. I still get bummed when I think about the possibility that I’ll never feel that way while writing music in a room with a group of friends again. But at the same time, it was special, and we were lucky to do it as long as we did, so I’m thankful for that.

Brian Southall: I definitely just miss the time with the guys. It was the most fun I’ve ever had touring in a band. We were idiots and it was a blast. They were some of the most talented guys I ever had the chance to play with, and we had an amazing time every day, and have inside jokes that will make me cry laughing for the rest of my life.

What are the chances of The Receiving End of Sirens reforming?
Andrew Cook: Slim to none, honestly. We all have separate lives and careers now, and it’s rare when we’re all even on the same coast (or in the same country, for that matter). We all love playing music together, and that’s something that’ll never go away. As long as there’s demand for the band, we’d like to keep playing shows now and then, and if timing works out, even record some new music. But there’s just about a zero percent chance that TREOS will be a full-time band again.

What would you consider to have been the highlight of the band’s career?
Brian Southall: Oddly enough, it was probably our reunion show for Skate Fest. I think it was the most professional show we ever did, and it was amazing to experience. The crowd was great, we didn’t totally blow it, and I smashed Alex’s head open with my headstock. It was a near perfect night.

Andrew Cook: The mere fact that we were able to graduate from playing local hall shows to touring with bands we idolized; bands that we actually started our band to sound like, in a way. We went from paying to see Thrice and Thursday shows, where we’d talk in between bands like, “Damn, we have to do THAT when we start playing shows,” or, “We should have a song like THAT,” to actually touring with those bands. When I look back it, it’s kinda like one big highlight, because I learned so much while doing it, and met so many amazing friends that I still have to this day. And the fact that people connected with the music, and that it meant something to anyone besides the 6 of us? That is probably the biggest blessing of all.

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

THE OUTRO

It’s times like these, once a band parts ways, that you realize how much you may have taken their presence (and the hardships of existing in a band for so long) for granted. It rarely crosses my mind that much like a life, a band’s union can end abruptly for any given reason.

Written and conducted by: Brian Leak

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