The Heavenly States – Black Comet (CD)

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 “Pretty Life”, the entire band’s output is very sedate. Tracks like “Black Comet” 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 “Song in F”) 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 “Song in F”, 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 “Elastic Days”, The Heavenly States push together two very distinct style of music: while the band’s general sound is reminiscent of Dishwalla and Rusted Root, Ted’s vocals chart a David Byrne-esque track. The effect there is disserting, but really works, Frankenstein’s monster as it is.

One major part of The Heavenly States’ music that has yet to be discussed is the flittering violins that are played to the greatest affect by Genevieve. During tracks like “Racetrack”, 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 “Vacant”, 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 “The Pale”, replete with hooky lyrics really push The Heavenly States into a new realm.

The Heavenly States, from their earliest tracks on “Black Comet” (especially “Look and Listen”) 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 States’ 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

Rating: 6.7/10

The Heavenly States – Black Comet / 2005 Baria / 12 Tracks / http://www.theheavenlystates.com / theheavenlystates@hotmail.com / Reviewed 21 April 2005

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