Sophomore albums are very tricky. They can either be very easy
to make or immensely difficult. For the synth-rock trio The
States it has been a combination of both. Lead singer and
guitarist Chris Snyder addresses in a press release, "It
can take us a month or more to finish a song," and yet, the
band's second full length disc The Path Of Least Resistance
is an amiable medley of resonating synth-textured guitar vibrations
and rhythmic soft punk grooves.
Their songs have a nu-wave correlation to their New York City
brethren The Bravery with fissures of dramatic guitar inflections
and ebullient tones. The States also have a penchant for episodes
of euphoric escapes and shimmering chordals akin to Coldplay
and the Cinematics. The band's affection for nu-wave esthetics
has links to bands like She Wants Revenge and The Rapture,
which audiences first connected with The States on their 2006
self-released debut full length album Multiply Not Divide.
They are a band who knows their strengths and plays them up proudly.
Produced, mixed and engineered by Evan Moore, The Path
Of Least Resistance gleans symphonic guitar riffs and light
punk grooves culled by drummer Joe Stroll and bassist Previn
Warren, who also performs the piano and synth passages on
the recording. The opening track "Charm Offensive" blossoms
with an opulent piano intro moving into coruscating guitar flourishes
chinked by soft punk rhythmic movements reminiscent of Circa
Survive. The sizzling arpeggios and nimble melodic bends on
"New Land" are solidified by radiant piano sequences,
while "Checkout" is endowed with arousing vocal rises
and curls that resemble Monsters Are Waiting. The synth-rock
frequencies on mid-tempo numbers like "The Architect"
and "All The Salt In The Sea" have velvety chord sonics
and shimmering upshots emulating the emollient textures of Coldplay.
The soft synth-rock melody "Darkest Hour" has dreamy
melodic guitar slides and drum kicks likened to The Dears
and Kill Hannah which take on a dance-punk groove on the
uptempo track "CCTV (I'm A Star)."
Snyder's vocals clench and lengthen with control and flexibility
reciprocating the tempo shifts on "Black Jack," a song
which won them Session I in the Rock category of the 2006 John
Lennon Songwriting Contest (www.jlsc.com). The chord shifts quicken
and loosen the tempo as Snyder sings, "Settle down, you know
your father was a friend to me/ Never doubt I was invited by the
family to swing a little from the fortune tree/ Selling out, I
must admit it's been good to me
If you were dealt the hand
that I got, you'd have cashed out before you got caught/ I'm no
different from the rest of this town." The lyrical themes
focus on human deception, sometimes sounding unapologetic like
in "Black Jack" and sometimes filled with contrition
like with "Checkout." In the case of "Black Jack"
and "The Architect," the lyrics shed light on political
intrigue. The melodic passages soften the blow of human conflicts
with pleasing vibes and lush swirling tones, something like Caravaggio's
paintings portraying disturbing scenes of deviant behavior with
The States second album The Path Of Least Resistance has
a profusion of synth-rock escapes at the forefront. The shimmering
guitar passages and soft punk rhythms are fused melodically and
amenably. The band plays what they know best and their second
album is wrapped up so beautifully that they make it seem totally
1. Charm Offensive
2. New Land
4. The Architect
5. Darkest Hour
6. All The Salt In The Sea
7. Black Jack
8. CCTV (I'm A Star)
10. Be Good Tonight
11. God's Numbers
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