• Jun : 16 : 2017 - SPOTLIGHT: FAR AWAY STABLES – New Album ‘Between Rage and Serenity’
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The second helping from Pennsylvania four-piece A Social State, How To Get To Heaven, opens with a naked, sparse drumming pattern; a simple thudding that invites intrigue, leaving no clue as to what the rest of the album will sound like. Then, 11 seconds in, a searing riff and seething vocal rip through the simplicity.
Following 2013’s Everyone’s Your Friend, A Social State return with another round of guitar-heavy alt-rock that owes a lot to the early 2000s, takings its cues as it does from piano-led punk-rock and heartfelt, pre-MCR emo.
‘Heaven’ is a smorgasbord of all the best bits from the alt- and punk-rock and scene of the early noughties – the big choruses, stamp-along drum attacks, huge, chunky guitar riffs and sweltering buildups that have you viciously nodding, eyes to the ceiling, one hand in the air (or gripped to your chest) with lungs fit to burst and commemorative tattoos already in the pipeline.
The one thing that lets this album down is frontman Ed Cuozzo’s slightly rasped vocals, which lack the urgency that the chunky guitars and thick drums provide. He sounds disinterested, tediously dragging the words out rather than carrying them above the music and letting the song writing shine. A gutsier, more impassioned vocal would see me enjoying this album as it is, wanting to come back for more, rather than delving into that dusty box of Drive-Thru compilations I keep for rainy days.
As a teenager living in London, America seemed like another world: a world where emo and punk-rock bands were on live television, where entire tours were dedicated to our favourite bands. It was a time when immediate, enjoyable and youth-embracing rock was at its peak, when Taste Of Chaos was your was favourite event if you couldn’t afford the flights for Warped Tour, and when summers were longer than they will ever be again in your entire life.  Ten years on, this album almost recaptures that feeling. If, in the early 2000s, you were like me – in your mid-to-late teens, having recently discovered drinking and experienced your first mosh pit, your walls adorned with posters your mum didn’t understand – you may even find yourself skipping the tracks back to hear that line again, a line that at 17 you would have scrawled across textbooks and bedroom walls as if it were gospel. At 29, you won’t be able to stop yourself feeling giddy with nostalgia.
Instagram @asocialstatemusic

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