Vs. the Sea
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Vs. the Sea

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Discography

-MFNW 2009 Demos

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Bio

Existence seems strange when thought about a bit too much. There's this consciousness that we're stuck with and a vast "other" surrounding us. It comes and goes in swells, like waves, effacing in its wake. Like the sea. And somewhere, an individual stands as a mere silhouette on an abandoned shore, gun cocked and firing into the vastness of the sea. A futile action at best, but perhaps it’s all we have when faced with the lack of answers to questions we offer to the distance. The violent act of shooting provides nothing, but it creates holes. And in these holes, we have space. As a band, Vs. the Sea carves songs to fit this space.

At the core of the band, songwriter Jared Brannan’s lyrics shine through with honest poignancy and precision. With his words, he fashions speakers who struggle with the contemporary conflicts of the individual. He employs insular vignettes, which, upon first exposure, thrust the listener into seemingly personal terrain; however, with closer inspection, one finds that these unique images serve as vehicles for universal experience. We sympathize with the lover who has nothing left in the aftermath of a relationship but the memento of “a birthday gift, [a] lighter with a lighthouse etched in fake ivory he palms and [thus] thinks about her.” Or the need to move away and find “an empty city bar [that] has no connected memory to a Polaroid [we] kept where she drew ‘X’s’ on [our] eyes.” The songs capture memories that seem simultaneously foreign and deeply internal. They embody the specific moments that keep us up at night or make us sigh with regret, nostalgia, frustration, and longing.

As a child Brannan envisioned himself an illustrator, furiously drawing comics and doodling in the margins of those familiar spiral-bound notebooks ostensibly dedicated to youthful academia. In many ways, he still illustrates; however, the medium has changed. Somewhere, ink on paper lost pictorial luster and only regained its sway in conjunction with carefully chosen words coupled with well-developed, sonorous soundscapes. Such a transition of artistic direction though, does not come without sacrifice and ordeal. Heartbreak prevails. Brannan saw bands evolve and dissolve. Most notably, the Washington based indie-folk-rock outfit The Golden Year, which received some critical acclaim and independent radio play. The band was staged to release their first full length but met an untimely end due to circumstance. The songs were recorded and mixed, well on their way, yet they were never released… unfortunate circumstance.

Now, with a few more years behind him, Brannan has proven himself to be a stalwart artist. His songs and ethic have only matured and find their home in the band Vs. the Sea. Brannan is joined by Stephen Paul, Adam Smith and Chad Palme, three dedicated musicians who are familiar with what it means to wholly invest themselves in musical pursuits. Although the four have some differences in influence, they all abide by the love of a well-written song, and that is exactly what Vs. the Sea offers. Well-written songs. Good songs. They balance carefully groomed lyricism and melody with the diverse, intricate dynamics of searing, jangley, textural, punchy, and/or gliding instrumentation. They are a band that works tirelessly. The members find themselves sacrificing every free moment away from “the grind” to endeavor for something beautiful. The music reflects this effort; they perform with a fervor suggesting that they’ve nothing left to lose.

In short, Vs. the Sea has nothing against the sea, least of all their backs. They stand in stride with the silhouetted stranger, locked and loaded, firing rounds into the vast expanse beyond. They witness the holes made by the percussive force of modernity in the face of mystery and fill it with humanistic music that demands reckoning.

Check them out at:
www.myspace.com/vstheseaband