Something that strikes me about The Heavenly States is the tremenous amount of restraint that they maintain throughout the earliest states of the disc. While lead vocalist Ted strains eir vocals during tracks like â€œPretty Lifeâ€, the entire bandâ€™s output is very sedate. Tracks like â€œBlack Cometâ€ are so dense that they can work on four or five distinct levels without blending the distinct instruments into a muck. The density of the average Heavenly States track is well above the average rock or alternative track; even when the track (like â€œSong in Fâ€) only includes a piano, bass and guitar, the sound is full enough to sound almost as if an orchestra is present. What becomes an issue during tracks like the aforementioned â€œSong in Fâ€, mini-epic as it is is the fact that everything, while still distinct has a fuzzy veneer to it that really detracts from the experience. Moving out of their alt-rock constraints for â€œElastic Daysâ€, The Heavenly States push together two very distinct style of music: while the bandâ€™s general sound is reminiscent of Dishwalla and Rusted Root, Tedâ€™s vocals chart a David Byrne-esque track. The effect there is disserting, but really works, Frankensteinâ€™s monster as it is.
One major part of The Heavenly Statesâ€™ music that has yet to be discussed is the flittering violins that are played to the greatest affect by Genevieve. During tracks like â€œRacetrackâ€, an entire environment is created through the intermediary tone of the violin (resting between a vocal and instrumental sound), and in the follow-up track â€œVacantâ€, it takes a more traditional, guitar-like tack before stretching up into the stratosphere to delineate the different parts of the track. Some of the tracks, if they were properly cleansed for the FCC would be perfect tracks for the average pop-alternative radio station; the rich tones of â€œThe Paleâ€, replete with hooky lyrics really push The Heavenly States into a new realm.
The Heavenly States, from their earliest tracks on â€œBlack Cometâ€ (especially â€œLook and Listenâ€) show themselves to be the descendents of acts like The Kinks or Steve Miller Band, albeit in a sense that only becomes visible at certain points of the disc. The rich sound that will greet listeners throughout The Heavenly Statesâ€™ disc will be more than enough to win over fans; add to it a continued dedication to create the most economical and intense style of rock, and one has a band that will be relevant for a long period of time.
Top Tracks: Racetrack, Light Dressed Storm
The Heavenly States â€“ Black Comet / 2005 Baria / 12 Tracks / http://www.theheavenlystates.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / Reviewed 21 April 2005