[Locals Only] Set to Sea Sail Across the History of Emo

Two If By Sea

Fullerton’s Set to Sea are playing a headlining show at Chain Reaction this Wednesday, marking a definite departure from the Hot Topic-core that typically fills the all-ages venue. The thoughtful “Run,” from their EP just released on iTunes this month, drives with quiet emotion, bringing to mind acts like Explosions in the Sky, Sufjan Stevens and Pedro the Lion—all cited by the band as influences.

Still, it’s not as odd a booking as you might think. They’re also into Copeland, Terminal and Irvine’s emo poster boys Thrice; far closer to the usual Chain fare. These leanings are also present in their work, on tracks like the appropriately titled “The Fast Song,” where singer Jacob Maag emotes with the best of them on lines such as “broken, beaten-down and fallen on the ground,” with extra lingering on choice syllables when necessary.

This synthesis is not so surprising. In the rock & roll family tree, a straight line can be drawn between the post-hardcore of Fugazi to the poppy emo of Jimmy Eat World, back to the current takes on post-hardcore from acts like From First to Last and, yes, Thrice. But few play in both worlds (either by choice or otherwise), and even fewer with the panache displayed by Set to Sea.

As with many of their genre forebears and OC music peers, Christianity appears to play a subtle yet important role in Set to Sea’s music. “Rain” proclaims “your love covers me.” In a mission statement of sorts, the band write: “We sing these songs because we know that there’s a beauty greater than any other.” While it’s not always easy to hear the optimism in Set to Sea’s frequently dreary tunes, it’s not hard to guess where it comes from.

Set to Sea with Missing Since Yesterday, Against the Ropes, Above Hope, Adrina, Sky Harbor at Chain Reaction, 1652 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 635-6067; www.allages.com. Wed., 7 p.m. $10.
Visit Set to Sea online at www.myspace.com/wearesettosea.

 
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