Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Upstate

October 26, 2003

And now, a friendly reminder from your local government: RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! THE TECHNOLOGY HAS TAKEN OVER THE WORLD! THE ROBOTS RULE EVERYTHING! HIDE! HIDE!

Ok, that odd announcement actually does have correlation to this review. Due to the wonders of super-powerful technology, Upstate has released this album without ever playing a show together. In fact, they wrote all five songs without ever seeing each other’s faces. And if that’s not enough, the band is split between two states (Colorado and Ohio)! And yet, they made a rock band. Now, that’s determination. That’s heart. That’s frickin weird.

Also, this album has some seriously spacey vibes. This album starts out with a quick acoustic pattern and a drumbeat until the vocals come in. Those three elements carry this album, so it’s no surprise that they are the first three introduced. An electric guitar also lays the occasional ditty on top of it all, but it’s mostly non-existent. The same goes for a keyboard. The music created sounds like a cross between Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Star Sutra. It possesses that same aura of spaciness, that eerie, paranoid sound that characterizes both Star Sutra and Pink Floyd. It also has the classic guitar vibes of the era, best exemplified in Led Zeppelin. It’s not dated though. It’s very infused with modern melodic structure. Not that the melodies are happy ones. All of the melodies here are in a minor key, even when the instrumentation is in a major one, making a very odd song when they criss-cross. The vocals themselves have a weird effect on them, and they sound like System of a Down when SOAD slows down (think “Roulette”). These songs all have the same vibe going on, but none of the arrangements get repetitive. The only thing that’s a real negative here is the fact that the vocals don’t have much scope or range. They start to sound a bit monotonous by the end.

In the end, this is a nice EP, full of dark pop songs that flow well on the ear, but aren’t aiming to make moods brighter. It’s amazing to think that this band has never played together. It just sounds so good. Kudos to them, for pioneering what may become a new trend in the music world. We really need another one (die rap-metal die) so let’s hope this is the one.

Read: www.friendlypsychicsmusic.com

Listen: www.friendlypsychicsmusic.com

Buy: www.friendlypsychicsmusic.com

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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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