By: David Schultz
In the midst of a sweltering stretch of late August summer humidity, Brooklyn indie-rockers The States commemorated the release of their latest album The Path Of Least Resistance with a gala celebration at the MC Gallery. Opting against a club, bar or other comparable venue, The States selection of an art studio in midtown Manhattan is indicative of the band’s singularly creative nature. On Multiply Not Divide, their initial release, The States tapped into the simplicity and clarity of early-era U2. For The Path Of Least Resistance, they remain loyal to their familiar sound and by broadening their range and working different tempo changes into their work, they channel the best of another 80s supergroup, the Police.
Lead singer and guitarist Chris Snyder creates a one-man wall of guitar fury, especially notable on “Charm Offensive” and “CCTV (I’m A Star),” but like most power trios, without a standout rhythm section, the guitars would be full of sound and fury while signifying nothing. On Resistance, bassist Previn Warren works beautifully with drummer Joe Stroll to give body and life to The States’ songs. Stroll gets the full-bodied Synchronicity drums of Stewart Copeland on “The Darkest Hour” and “God’s Numbers” and the opening of “The Architect” bounces to the same beat as “Roxanne.” Snyder’s guitars lift off at various points of the album. It’s nothing complicated and on songs like “All The Salt In The Sea” the plaintive simplicity results in a triumph of timing and songcraft.
When you scratch beneath the surface, you find that The States possess an intriguing depth. As bands containing Harvard grads are want to do, The States songs contain a slew of hyperliterate, expressive lyrics. Already singled out by the John Lennon Songwriting Contest which tapped “Black Jack,” as one of the finalists of the 2006 competition, they make unlikely topics like gentrification and the erosion of the 4th Amendment as suitable for modern rock as songs about broken or unsalvageable relationships.
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