Music

The Heavenly States: self-titled

Jason MacNeil

The Heavenly States

The Heavenly States

Label: Future Farmer
US Release Date: 2003-08-26
Amazon
iTunes

The Heavenly States have recorded a split 7" single with a little known band from England called Coldplay. That should be more than enough to generate a buzz for this group (known last year as Fluke Starbucker). The trio of guitarist and main songwriter Ted Nesseth and the brother and sister pair of Jeremy Gagon and Genevieve Gagon have received praise from several folks, including Bonnie Prince Charlie. However, this buzz will mean nothing if they can't deliver the goods on the debut album. And the answer, for the most part, is that they can.

Starting off by taking the Oasis album title What's the Story, Morning Glory, the Heavenly States begin with "What's the Intro Morning Glory?" From there, it leads into "American Borders". The track is initially a hard and gritty rock track resembling Queens of the Stone Age, but then veers off into a nice melodic rock tune. "America, roll it up", Nesseth sings as this structure repeats itself. The song is interesting but doesn't truly set the album's agenda. "The Story Of" resembles a contemporary Mellencamp song, consisting of violins working alongside the roots rock arrangement. It also sounds a bit like "So You Wanna be a Rock and Roll Star" done by the Byrds and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. It's quite good and would fit well alongside the New Pornographers.

"My Friends" is a slower and melancholic indie rock sound in a vein of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. "My friends would say you're right, you're wrong, you're right, you're wrong", Nesseth sings with harmonies from Genevieve Gagon. From there the violin seems to usurp the electric guitar, taking the lead spot for a stellar solo. "Beyond the Great Beyond" is more of a dreamy pop track that quickly gets some limbs moving for the listener. The first two verses tend to move smoothly into each other, making the first minute flow greatly. Jeremy Gagon and Nesseth add guitars here for a beefier and grander anthem-like bridge. The four-minutes-plus seem to fly by for the most part, although the conclusion is toned down.

"Monster" shouldn't be confused with the R.E.M. album. Here, the Heavenly States are making their best marks with a change-of-pace tune that instantly recalls, for this Canadian, By Divine Right. Knowing how to wrap a melody around every single part of a song, the band has done in less than two minutes what it takes most bands five to do. "Cumulous to Nebulous" offers more fiddles with a lengthy instrumental opening. The lyrics kick in at two and a half minutes, taking the song to a different level. Generally, though, this song might work better as an instrumental -- somber yet tight and steeped in alternative rock.

"Carwash" is a great rock effort that takes a while to get into but is full of cavity-inducing melodies and harmonies. The keyboards and effects in the background recall the Attractions supporting Superchunk. Nesseth keeps the "na na na nas" and "la la las" from start to finish. The only drawback is the ending, which seems to be the sounds of someone channel surfing intently. "Senseless Beauty" is similar, but is tighter and meatier with better hooks overall. "Empire" has a cinematic aspect, a lush and acoustic-driven tune which adds organ and tambourines as it evolves. While dreary and nearly dirge-like, the path the song travels makes one believe it's ready to break out. But it never does, creating a great amount of tension for nearly seven minutes.

"Timeless Melody" would be a much better title than its current moniker as the Heavenly States have a slew of these lying around. Mixing guitars with tight arrangements, the Heavenly States create another little piece of heavenly pop. "Gin and Tonic" is pure pop rock before "Hangar" wraps it all up. If you've played the New Pornographers to death and need a breath of fresh yet similar melodies, you can't go wrong with this gem.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.