Joshua Mudge and Matt Hinkle are the two members of the project 38 State Nation. The two musicians who came from different bands wanted to make meaningful music that resonated with the listener. Their first attempt at this comes in the form of a four-song EP entitled In This Life. The album ventures into experimental pop that is musically quite adventurous but foundationally rooted in sing-a-long worth vocal melodies that carry the songs.
In This Life is a complete DIY effort that was recorded and mixed by the band. The recording is very impressive although it is in desperate need of proper mastering. I noticed the first song was a good 4-5 dbs louder than the second song according to my Dorrough meter.
The four songs on the EP are well written and they implement enough savvy production tricks to keep your attention. Their music is the opposite of subtle. They follow in the footsteps of bands like Coldplay and Muse and play music that you want to hear in an arena. They are going for broke with this EP and they make grandiose music that is impossible to ignore.
The first song entitled “King Of Fools” was the highlight of the EP for me. One of the most enjoyable aspects was the slick production such as the filtering of the vocals that brought variation to the singing. The percussion sounds tribal as layers of rhythm drive the beat of the song. It combines with a bass and organ as the vocalist delivers an emotional vocal performance.
The next track “Two Hearts” has a bit more forward momentum than the first song but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a better song. Guitars are more prominent in this track and stick to a more commercial structure.
They couldn't have named the last song “Release” any better than they did. This is another well-done song with savvy production. At first the song is loosely put together. Drums fade in and fade out (with filtering effects as well) and it all feels like it’s building up to something, which it does. At about three-and-a-half minutes the drum explodes and the song catapults in the air. They end with a bang.
In This Life displays potential for the band and forms a solid framework for them to move forward with. Their strongest aspects lie in the slick production and well thought out implementation of sounds. If they can keep up the experimental part of their music and expand on it rather than try and shoot for sounding like a pervasive guitar band than I think they maybe on to something.
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