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Friday, September 16, 2016

The Operation -- There Is Hope for a Tree Cut Down


I bought The Operation's There Is Hope for a Tree Cut Down for one reason: mewithoutYou frontman, Aaron Weiss, plays drums on it. Turns out, most of the members of The Operation would later play for mewithoutYou. The Operation released this debut LP a year before mewithoutYou's Tooth & Nail Records debut. Weiss acquits himself well on the drums here, but switching to frontman was a brilliant decision. In fact, switching just about everything was a brilliant decision because There Is Hope for a Tree Cut Down is not very good.
Rather unfortunately, The Operation sounds like all those emo bands from the late 90's and early 00's I hate, except not as good. If you remember emo, the frontmen generally had whiny, nasally voices, and frequently attempted to hit notes they had no business touching with a ten-foot pole in their dreams. If the music was incredible, this could be forgiven--for instance, the singer/guitarist for Elliott didn't have my favorite voice, but their music was so incredible, this made little difference.
The music on There Is Hope for a Tree Cut Down is not incredible, and very rarely satisfies my ears in any way. There is a moment two-minutes into There Is Hope...'s second track, where Aaron's brother Michael, soon to be the guitarist for mewithoutYou, hits one of those dark chords that mewithoutYou would feature so frequently in their year-later debut. Unfortunately, that moment quickly ends, replaced by The Operation's bread-and-butter: shimmery arpeggios that go nowhere, punctuated by major chord strumming that doesn't pay off in any way.
Of course, if the lyrics were good...but they're not. I am probably more tough on the "worship music" genre than most who share my faith, but that is only because the things those songs are supposed to say are intensely important to me. "I need you to show my how to fall in love with you again," and "I'm looking into a window, a window into my own self," don't cut the mustard. Imagine the sappy, stereotypical stuff of emo, but directed toward Jesus. This is especially egregious for the listener approaching this expecting to get something on the level of Weiss' mewithoutYou poetry.
I am only being this mean because once these guys shuffled positions (The Operation's vocalist wisely shifted to bass for mewithoutYou after sitting out mewithoutYou's first couple of albums) and changed their name, they became awesome, and everyone has to have a beginning. I would also rate many portions of my life up to this point poorly. In fact, I would rate myself poorly for major portions of this year, and I would rate this review, full of run-on sentences and confusing punctuation as poor, as well...but hey, you move on, learn from it, and hopefully get better. These guys did. Maybe I will, too. There is hope, right?
Also, look at the album artwork. You just know Weiss took the initiative, before taking over this band, and made that himself. The liner notes tell me so.
And finally, yes, there is a song titled "The Together Tree." It's that kind of album.

2001 Takehold Records
1. A New Math 3:33
2. Fall Like Fire 4:31
3. Catch (Something I Might Be Ashamed Of) 4:25
4. To Prevent Fall-Apart 2:27
5. The Together Tree 4:30
6. Beaten By The Best 5:19
7. Our Steps Will Always Rhyme 5:11
8. 8th & Washington 3:58
9. Wink With The Eye That Hate Me 4:35
10. This May Not Have Happened 5:26


Azure Ides-Grey said...

If it's emo then my interest is piqued. I've heard of The Operation, but I had no idea this archaic recording could be accessed on the web ... that YouTube topic whatever thing is a wonderful, er, thing. Curious, are you familiar with The Jazz June or American Football? I'm wondering if you'd consider them the crappy emo bands, haha.

Nicholas said...

Sorry, dude, it's just not for me, and I've made some pretty serious attempts to get into the genre, including listening to those two bands, Mineral, Sunny Day Real Estate, what have you.. I do have some respect for American Football, though. I wouldn't call them crappy, even though I'm not a fan. I can recognize their talent, and their stuff is way better than The Operation, in my opinion. About the most "emo" thing I can get into is The Appleseed Cast's first album, which is by far my least favorite by them, and also features a sound they got away from almost immediately.
Also, "Topic" is wonderful! They've archived so much music.. You can find almost anything on there now, even though more obscure stuff may only have 10-20 hits. I had to use an outside service to host MP3's for reviews of less known bands, back when I was only on the "A"'s and "B"'s, but now I can Youtube link everything. It's great!
Are any current bands still working in the "emo" sound?

Azure Ides-Grey said...

It's cool; nothing wrong with not enjoying what you don't enjoy (unless there's some moral implication, but that's neither here nor there). I've heard of The Appleseed Cast, though I have yet to listen to them ... should get on that.

Was that outside service you mentioned purevolume or myspace? haha. I guess neither of those were popular in 2011, which if I am correct, was when you started those A reviews ...

Hmmm ... not very many, but some, in my estimation. The first one that comes to mind is Silverstein (though they seem to get less emo over the years, kinda). There was a great local band in my city (Saskatoon) by the name of Castaway who was somewhat emo, but they broke up this year. Other than that, not very many come to mind. Most species fall susceptible to the evolution of emo to scenester to hipster ... emo bands trying to make hipster music is just horrible though (ex. JT Woodruff from Hawthorne Heights song "Field Medicine").