Review: Rites Of Spring - End On End
Here's as good as any if you want a band history on DC's Rites Of Spring, the wellspring of emo in the emotional sense. Sonically they were a bit jazzy and trippy, where modern emo is more a post-grunge phenomena.
In 1985 they released their LP Rites Of Spring, which at the time I barely got into because I still wanted Dischord bands to sound like Minor Threat's EP's. I'm bad at growing along with bands and scenes. I came across End On End and figured since it was released in 1991 it was later material. I listened and it paled in comparison to my memories of the original album I haven't put on in ages.
Well, the joke's on me because End On End is the first album plus an EP and an added song. I'm surprised how timid (a relative statement indeed) these songs sound now, especially compared to Beefeater, who ripped into their album with a lot more fury. I also heard what Dag Nasty stole from them and made their own, but I also think the latter wrote tighter and more melodic songs. I guess it's about the lyrics, which I understood only a little without a handy lyrics sheet.
This memory from a reviewer on Amazon cuts the core of the matter with Rites Of Spring and emo in general: "20 years later, I can listen to the songs on this album and remember vividly the deep impact that some of them had on my life between 1985-86. "Drink Deep" was a song that had particular meaning to me because I listened to it a lot during a brief, but intense romance while on a European trip in June 1986. The girl broke it off near the end of the trip for fear of becoming too involved with me, and I can remember making her listen to "Drink Deep" in an desperate attempt to get her to apply the message of the song to our relationship. The message to me was live in the moment and don't let chances pass you by. Alas, she dumped me, and for the rest of the summer, I would tearfully listen to "Drink Deep" and the rest of the album when I pined for my lost love."
The EP tracks, which came out some time after the LP, sound like tentative demos. I like the EP better than the LP. I suspect Rites Of Spring is a band you need to know something about before you just go off and listen to them. They were important and influential, but I doubt this has aged as well as people's memories of them and "the day".