Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

State Radio

Year of the Crow

(Ruff Shod; US: 25 Sep 2007; UK: Available as import)

State Radio is pretty upfront about their politics on Year of the Crow. Opener “Guantanamo” goes right after the Bush administration and their support for torture and collusion. And while their politics, and the aim of their music, may be admirable—particularly to the band’s target audience—the execution leaves much to be desired. There’s nothing wrong with a protest song, or with being direct, but most of these songs are all aimless vitriol. They come at their topics head-on, in songs like “CIA” and “Sudan”, but their head-on approach doesn’t reveal anything new about these topics. Year of the Crow comes across, in the end, as a laundry list of complains that gets too big and too long to be focused in any way. Occasionally, the band drops its political posturing in favor of a solid melody and driving guitars, and then their sound works. “Gang of Thieves”, while no less pedantic than anything else here, is an energetic rockabilly swing buried in an album full of amorphous, slightly punk-tinged rock. It’s always good to see bands approaching these big issues, but naming the issues aloud and actually addressing them are two different things.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


Tagged as: state radio
Media
State Radio - Guantanamo
Related Articles
By D.J. Baker
23 Nov 2008
State Radio’s blend of punk, reggae, and rock is as appealing as it is powerful, and their musical fusion was fully evident at this show.
16 Mar 2006
Former Dispatch member Chad Stokes resurrects the passion of The Clash and Bob Marley for the modern Bush era in his band's terrific reggae-rock debut.
discussion by
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.