You Shouldn't Stare
Since forming in Indianapolis in 2005, STATE has passionately striven for high intensity, both in the studio and in the live setting-all without losing focus on dynamics. Whether playing quietly or loudly, each part of every song leads the listener down a musical path that ranges from serenity to utter madness. Calling to mind such acts as Faith No More and Queens of the Stone Age, as well as Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, STATE's sonic palette is as filled with catchy riffs and pop sensibility as it is with more experimental and unusual ideas. Balancing such varied influences and interests is indeed challenging, but STATE's 2006 EP proved that the band was more than up for it. The five-song release contains fifteen minutes of concise, catchy, hook-driven rock songs. Building upon that solid foundation, 'You Shouldn't Stare'-due September 12, 2008-constitutes a mature and versatile step forward for the band. Book-ended by a haunting theme from a lonely church organ and cello, the record touches on such subject matter as serial violence, organized religion, individual socialization, and the light and dark sides of romantic fidelity. As might be expected, each topic is approached with appropriate mood and tone, like a mystery novel that catches the reader off-guard with every twist and turn. Written with serial killer John Wayne Gacy in mind, 'Summerdale' stands out as an accessibly odd-timed rocker that begins with high intensity, but still manages to build up to complete frenzy in an outro that conjures images of terrified masses fleeing a bloody carnival. After the smoke and dust clear however, what follows is a swingy, mid-tempo pop song called 'Jezebel in Love.' Likening the speaker's lover to the biblical archetype, the song refers to the controlling and diabolical queen, who leads her husband and people away from divinity. Later, 'Everyone is a Saint' addresses a desire for belief in something metaphysical, while recognizing the folly and danger of organized religion. Possibly the most radio-friendly song on the record, 'Saint' begins with one voice and one guitar, and six minutes later has blossomed into a beautifully lush arrangement that includes piano, vocal harmonies, and numerous guitars. With 'Sleep,' the record winds down to a somber finish: an acoustic guitar and a cello elegantly lift a crestfallen vocal out of pain. On 'You Shouldn't Stare,' STATE emerges as a force to be reckoned with, whether they be melting faces or swinging hips. Despite the wide musical span of the record, it remains a cohesive whole, and one that demands repeat listening.