After hearing the album, and as impressive a debut as it is, there is nothing like watching the magic unfold as State Song brings these songs to life in concert.
I feel like Ive stepped through a miniature time warp when I listen to this early-90s-angst-core-esque album. There is so much to be said for what Deep Elm Records did for the alternative scene during that time, and these guys are proof. A little bit Desert City Soundtrack, a little bit Sunny Day Real Estate, State Song know how to rock, and how to do it nicely. Its hard to believe that theyre a three-piece with the amount of sound theyre producing, and the different ways of keeping the listener interested. The lyrics stay true to the post-hardcore theme: the turmoil of infidelity, longing, and love. The vocals are a little bit spacey, and with the combination of raw guitar, steady drums, and melancholic piano, this makes for a pretty damn good album. Dear Hearts & Gentle People has blatant SDRE influences, with hazy guitars and throaty vocals throughout. The more I listen to the album, the more I hear Sunny Day in their songs, but it all sounds really, really good. If I didnt know otherwise, Id think this album came out of the late 90s or early 2000s, and thats what I like about it most. Theres something about the post-hardcore era that makes my insides smile, and this does that just as well.
Cincinnati, Ohios State Song is a band whose music is difficult to compare and/or describe most likely because they arent jumping on any particular trendy bandwagon. Dear Hearts & Gentle People is quite a debut. These intelligent orchestrated underground pop classics have a particularly nice sound and flow. The song structures arent predictable and the songs arent necessarily danceable. The vocalist has a cool slightly warbly voice that serves as the perfect focal point for the tunes. Rarely do we a debut this strong from an up and coming underground band. These guys have really set high standards for themselves with this album. Nifty reflective progressive pop cuts include Blank Lake, Oceanaire, Highway Machine, and The Concierge. Highly recommended. TOP PICK.
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Possessing a notable pedigree paired with a potent sonic assault is any bands best maneuver. In the case of Cincinnati newcomers State Song various members have shared stages with everyone from New Found Glory and Hot Water Music to Heartless Bastards and Buffalo Killers. Despite any names they can drop, State Songs self released debut EP combines sweeping emotive rock anthems with more subdued piano driven elements to create an engaging debut that suggests this is a band that can display some serious range. With a full length already in the works, look for State Song (school) to emerge as a serious musical force in southwestern Ohio in Summer 2009.
DAYTON CITY PAPER
The modus operandi of State Songs members is to make songs that have the intensity and aesthetics of rock songs, but the drama and melodies of pop songs. The mix also skews more toward the vocal-centric engineering of pop music. Tunes like 4-6prn move from from nuanced, quiet pop songs to an all-out rock attack, capped off by the mournful roar of Scot Torres.
Torres has the sort of voice I adore. His is on the high end of baritone, so he can ratchet up to a mind blowing intensity without succumbing to a whiny tone. His comfortable range is somewhere around where most people talk, but he can command a muscly tone that borders on a scream (Highway Machine (Loud Version)) when he wants to make a point. But when hes just singing comfortably, his voice sounds weary and real (Skeleton Key). If the voice is what makes pop music, hes got a voice to make it happen.
The songs are brilliant as well; from the emo-rock of opener Blank Lake to the supremely Death Cab-esque chill of The Concierge, the songs are instantly enjoyable. In addition to its immediacy, it has staying power: Its a rare album where each song reveals its own wonders, while still hanging together in a cohesive mood. Houses drops in some synths that create great atmosphere before the song explodes into throat-shredding, distortion-crushing angst. Then it goes back. Dig sounds like a tougher Bright Eyes, which is a huge compliment from over here.
Dear Hearts & Gentle People is an excellent album. Not much rock has impressed me this year, as its all just the same old same old. But State Songs ten-song collection brings vitality to their songwriting and thus is currently sitting atop the list of best rock in 2011. Fans of Brand New will be all over this.
...[Dear Hearts & Gentle People is] 10 swimmingly beautiful songs of music and voice.
THE SCENE / INDIANA PUBLIC RADIO
Dear Hearts is a refreshing return to a time when artists made albums as interconnected art, carefully constructed and plotted out so the tracklist flows together. Just as a filmmaker would never put together a movie with a collection of scenes that can be viewed randomly, State Song tells a sonic story with Dear Hearts & Gentle People. Not that you couldnt find enjoyment from listening to a single track; its just best experienced collectively and in the order the band intended.
The trios sound is dreamlike and built around breathtaking dynamics, as they shift gearstime signatures, tones, emotions, vocal stylesintermittently. Tracks rise and fall, but its done more imaginatively and fluidly that the standard soft/loud dynamic often employed by Rock bands. Listening is akin to swimming in the ocean, paddling along peacefully one moment, swirling in choppy waters the next, then being lifted by a giant wave, pushed gradually to the top of it, maybe riding that apex for a second or two before crashing back down into the waters and waiting for the cycle to begin again. Its unpredictable but never unnatural, dramatic but never melodramatic
This album is hands down amazing. !There are times that singer Scot Torres channels The Bends era Thom Yorke so well that its bone chilling. If youre a fan of any of the followingThe Twilight Singers, Kent, Pinback, Radiohead, Arcade Fire or Sunny Day Real Estateyoure going to love this rock trio, but more, because its part of our local music community, and lets face it, our local music community is awesome.
State Song has a singer that is one part Jim Ward, one part Julian Casablancas and a small part Jordan Jeffares of Snowden. Their music is similar to early Sparta mixed with 90s college rock. Dear Hearts and Gentle People is a pretty good record and quite solid throughout. It is definitely one of those albums that you would probably pass over, and then regret doing so once you find out everyone is into them.
Q&A: State Song
Trio works in a new drummer while putting out a new CD and working on the next one
By Allison Cayse/August 3, 2010
The new album, Dear Hearts and Gentle People, is out this week on local label Phratry Records. Its 10 tracks, which the trio says encompasses the bands older guitar based sounds, but also showcases some of the new sounds that they are exploring with a wider variety of instruments and orchestrations. (follow link below for full interview)