System Syn – “All Seasons Pass” Viva Music Album Review

October 4, 2011 in Album Reviews

It started with the disappearance of a young woman in January 2006. At least that’s when I first heard about it – just a four-paragraph column in the newspaper. (…) There was a human element in there that you couldn’t see on the surface. There were people involved and affected that you were not going to read about in the paper. There were people who loved this woman, and who she loved. Their lives were never going to be the same, regardless of the outcome. Their lives were changing, and those four paragraphs were never going to reveal the extent of their tragedy.”  (Clint Carney, album inlay)

Tracklist: “God Damn” * “Path of Least Resistance” * “Ordinary Life” * “An Excuse Never Received” * “Mercy” * “Good Night” * “Homecoming” * “Absence” * “The Lesson” * “Funeral” * “Confession

Other System Syn news on darkwave.ro: New System Syn Album “All Seasons Pass” Out on Oct-11!

System Syn “All Seasons Pass“: Viva Music Album Review:

Ever since we read about the new album from System Syn, entitled “All Seasons Pass“, out with Metropolis Records, we were very curious to see what it amounted to. Good music was of course in the deal, even before getting to listen to the album, but the fact that the album was inspired by real facts from a criminal experience, and promised a multiple POV foray of the situation of the murder was very unusual. Even the pack the album came with sounded intriguing, as it was said to include a very appealing arrangement of black faux leather case, t-shirt in various sizes, vinyl stickers, dog tag, silicone wristband, and of course the CD and the book “All Seasons Pass“. The book can be ordered from here, too. It says in words, images, photographed letters and the like the story of the songs from the album, all resulting from the band’s access to classified information from the criminal case, interviews with family members and people whose connections to the killing of the heroine, whom they choose for confidentiality reasons to call Jane, still hurt. 

Another reason why the album sounded intriguing was its narrative claim. Indeed, the tracks follow from different perspectives the last days from the life of Jane, recounting in music what was given out in interviews and evidence found in the case. It is quite an experience, you have to admit. And the music, well the music, is really what you would expect for this background: no wonder if you take into account the experience and musical charisma of the band’s Clint Carney and Ted Phelps, who mixed and mastered the album, along with the band’s musicians (Adam Strange, Jake Strange, Adam Vex, and Jon Siren).

After the energy-packed “God Damn“, the more lyrical “Path of Least Resistance” takes on the melancholic and seductive vein we like with System Syn, and is conducive of a very special state. Combining hues of purity and peril, the track builds on the story background and you can feel for a fact that something is happening, and that somehow, all has been written, there is no coming back. Somewhat more elusively, there’s “Ordinary Life” to kick in next, and by the time the beat of “No Excuse Received” alarms the listener, you know that we are not living anymore times of exemplary heroes in exemplary occasions, but instead, are faced to the fact that less than extraordinary people undergo critical situations which do not make it on the first page of newspapers, and instead, anonymous people die anonymous deaths because of lack of attention, and to some extent, compassion. It is exactly what the ongoing story of Jane is here to certify: that lives are precious no matter to whom they belong, and the idea is illustrated musically perfectly. “Mercy” and “Good Night” deepen the plot and their infectious, refined sound is truly something to look forward to. “Homecoming“, which in American culture is usually attached to prom queens and winning college teams, but not tragical events, track which is a Viva Music  favorite, deals with the almost surreal fact that things can change within days and people are affected by tragedies which cannot be fathomed either in word, sound or image. A wonderful “Won’t you stay a little longer” bitterly accompanies the song, as if there were a parallel reality world in which things could be turned back to where they were. But tragically, they cannot. After the murder-mystery-like “Absence“, and the suave  but determined “The Lesson“, which is just as thick with meaning – but no one-sided morals – the apogee is reached with “The Funeral“, and continued with the classically set denouement of “Confession“, which seals shut a criminal dossier in which feelings are never written, and never taken into account.

System Syn does a really great job with their “All Seasons Pass“, and their album easily qualifies for one of the best releases yet in 2011. Stapled together with the dolorous heritage of a tragedy, the songs in the album recount the shades of light that can be glimpsed in the haze of hurt, frustration, injustice and lack of explanations of it all. The music is anticipatory in its combination of serene and dark material, and overall, the story of the album is one worth telling, and worth listening to. Enjoy!

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