Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Standing On Zero

July 26, 2003

“Sending Signals” kicks off this CD. The song’s instrumentation creates a stomping, unfaltering drive of a mood. The high, mournful vocals contribute to the general mood of hopelessness by trying to soar above it, but not quite making it. The solo is simply amazing. “Impression is a Target” isn’t as hard as “Sending Signals”, and features a piano in the mix. The vocals, lower but still mournful and haunting, drive this very subdued track. The piano driven breakdown is one of the best moments on the CD. The depressing mood is broken a bit with “Hit The Sky”, a seemingly up-tempo rocker, until the vocals come in. Two well-harmonizing vocalists completely change the mood back to depression. The lyrics evoke this as well: “Hey…It’s alright. It’s ok. I’m going nowhere. Maybe I lied, maybe I’ll hit the sky…”. “Anomie” opens up with an acoustic melody, and all the vocal tricks have been removed for a softer feel, complete with ‘la la’ part. It’s well crafted, adding layers upon layers until the final climax. The hard-hitting depresso-rock of “Sending Signals” is back on “Killing Air”. It’s a catchy, powerful, and passionate song, unequaled by any other on the CD. The second chorus of this song is my favorite section of this song and CD. “Lately Satellite” is an actually uptempo, happy sounding song! On this stripped down guitar and voice ballad, they hook you by repeating the few lyrics to get you singing along. The vocals do well, but comparatively, it is the weakest track vocally.

Overall, this CD is amazingly constructed, using multiple styles of vocals, incorporating piano multiple times, and holding a tough musical mood (depression) throughout without falling into sameness. Even thought they feature vocals quite often, they never compromise their rock roots. The only problem is that when you put the focus on something, people will scrutinize it more. The vocals take some getting used to, and they are a bit off in the last song. Overall, a debut that doesn’t sound like a debut, but a CD from seasoned veterans. 8 out of 10.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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