A Season of Songs, Day 90: Haloed Eye

A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring.  I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up.  I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever.  Enjoy!

Today’s song is “Haloed Eyes” by Navio Forge from their 1993 album “As We Quietly Burn A Hole Into”.

And in the end
I can’t see your eyes
and I can never justify
the way my eyes
never moved to meet yours
I can never justify
why I couldn’t see you
why I’ve never been able to see you
I’ve never been able to see
why can’t I see?
why can’t my eyes move?

In recent posts I might have had some “death to false emo” moments.  As I said a few days ago, there was in the late 90’s a clear progression where “emo” went from “emo-core aka emo hardcore” to “emo-pop”.  There’s lots of clean-up, polished stuff that ends up on lists called “Top 20 Emo Albums In History: Complete List” like Jimmy Eat World and Cursive while stuff like Moss Icon, Still Life and Navio Forge are nowhere near the list.  Navio Forge are for me the epitome of what early to mid-90’s emo was all about.  They were a short lived band – only playing two shows and recording an album, but oh what an album they made.

I’m not really sure when I would have first heard this album.  It was something we had searched out, having heard about it, as it featured Sean Linwood on vocals who had been vocalist for the PA band Admiral.  It also featured Sara Kirsch (then Mike Kirsch) from Fuel/Sawhorse/Skinflutes on guitar.  I remember when we got a copy we were all floored by it.  It’s clearly an album where the members of the band put their whole into it.  One of the hallmarks of this album are the mesmerizing basslines and the pained (and often layered) vocals.  The guitar and drums help push things along but its really the bass and vocals that carry this record.  The several live photos that accompany the album make it clear that Navio Forge weren’t only a force on record but their live shows must have been explosions of energy as well.

It’s really easy to look back on many of the records from that era and feel that the young men (mostly) and women who were in these bands were experimenting with a persona. They were playing the part of a young, tortured soul when most of us were fairly privileged kids who really didn’t have much to complain about.  Navio Forge on the other hand, based on this record, really seem like they were a group of people who had some things to get off their chest.  They had some things they were working through.  Luckily for us, they put it on vinyl.

“Haloed Eyes” is the last song on the album and is probably the pinnacle of the record.  It starts with that bass…that hypnotizing bass that slowly builds until the anguished “NO NO” and the full band comes crashing in.   Then settling down into the first verse with the slow, staccato cadence of the vocals building back into the “Cripple me” chant.  The second verse becomes more emotive, building and building until that final “AAAAAAHHH”.  Then the full band just rocks out until eventually settling back to that bass and Sean’s final cries of “Never move”.  And of course trying to describe this song makes it sound cheesy, but it really is an honestly intense and emotional song.

If you like any of that mid-90’s emo sound, definitely hunt down the mp3s of this record.  Good luck finding an actual copy of the LP as there weren’t many pressed.  A fuckin’ great record and one that truly belongs in the list of best emo records in history (if we really need to make such a list).

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