A Social State is an alternative rock band from Scranton, Pennsylvania that just released their follow-up to their debut LP entitled How To Get To Heaven. The music they make probably isn’t anything you haven’t heard before they just do it incredibly well. They share the same space as bands like Queens Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters and Saves The Day. Right off the bat the album has that “sound” that separates itself from a copious amount of DIY bands barking up the same tree. On further inquiry the band tapped Steven Haigler (The Pixies, Local H, Quicksand) to produce, mix and master the music.
The band has a ubiquitous appeal and will unequivocally attract a broad audience. Some self-indulgent hipsters may dismiss the music of sounding too similar to music in the mainstream but in my opinion they do a good job balancing mainstream appeal with having an underground edge. How To Get To Heaven isn’t a skimpy album at thirteen songs with no filler but it doesn’t feel arduous. The songs are ultimately pop songs that get stuck in your head and are easy on the ears. It’s the type of album you can pop in at a party and you’re set.
The album opens with “Milk,” which is the shortest song and serves as more or less as an intro. It’s a slow roasting but effective song that revolves around dripping guitar distortion and feedback. I really enjoyed what I was hearing and I was hoping for some more tunes with that kind of drone metal type vibe. The band serves up a healthy dose of energy on the next song “Side by Side.” It’s got all the elements of a “single” worthy song you might hear on FM radio. Catchy hooks, basic rock instrumentation and great production.
Fortunately the band has more versatility than distorted guitars and power chords as they display on “In Dreams.” The verse at least displays melodic guitar picking I wouldn’t have minded hearing more of throughout the album. “Unlike You” was a highlight as they implement a clash-like start and stop guitar progression while “Aging Egomaniac” talks about musicians imitating Kurt Cobain (which if you were born between 1978 and 1985 you saw a lot of).
The biggest hurdle for A Social State is that they do have a sound that is competing with thousands of other bands. They are a good band but they aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel here. This is a solid album but I wouldn’t have minded a couple of other elements that may separate them from like-minded bands. That being said as I mentioned earlier they do what they do really well so do yourself a favor and give it a spin.
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