Australia has been cranking out a ton of quality rock 'n roll in the last few years. State Of Confusion, from Gracetown's Broken Sea is another fine addition to the pantheon, with a unique blend of influences, ranging from stoner metal, like Kyuss, and '90s alt-rock. Many people think of art as an escape from life - pop music to put on, and forget about your troubles; the aural equivalent of The Wizard Of Oz, during the Great Depression. But for those of us to who value music as more than mere entertainment, becoming an obsession, nearly a religion, this isn't good enough. We love pop music, sure, being able to appreciate a well-written hook or memorable chorus, it doesn't necessarily speak TO or ABOUT us.
One of the most standout features of State Of Confusion is the confessional, slice-of-life lyrics, courtesy of singer Nina Reissinger, who sings about everyday challenges, like the workaday grind, on "Feel It", to waking up next to somebody you don't want to, on "Release Me". While the lyrics may be mundane, the music most assuredly is not, although Broken Sea practice a refined, stripped-down rock 'n roll, relying on crunching stoner riffs and propulsive beats, with some piano textures to keep things interesting.
Along with the edgier influences like Kyuss, Broken Sea remind me of some of the finest moments of early '90s alt-rock and grunge, at times bringing to mind Tool, with the hypnotical, minimalist bassline of "Feel It", also sounding like an update on Rage Against The Machine, with less propaganda, They also bring to mind the moody, murky production style of the first three Alice In Chains records, as well as the taut stop-start guitars of The Smashing Pumpkins. There hasn't been a grunge revival yet (or has there? I can't even track anymore), so there's no handy tag to market State Of Confusion with. I feel like most people tune out, when hearing the words alternative or grunge, thanks to the boatloads of mediocre music from the post-Nirvana signing frenzy, which diluted the original mightiness, that comes from blending metal, punk, folk, and good ole rock 'n roll. Don't rely on marketing fads to find good music. You've got to dig, and sing its praises, LOUD, when you find it.
The other noteworthy aspect of Broken Sea is the anthemic vocals of Nina Reissinger. I can't tell you what a relief it is to find a powerful female vocalist over a mighty rock band. Reissinger doesn't tailor her lyrics to suit the brothers - she sings of her own experiences, some of which are gender specific, although still being relatable. For the longest time, the marketing strategy (not that this influences the creative process) for entertainment was making very specific, female-oriented products, under the assumption that, at least in the case of children, that little girls would do the work to relate to male characters, but little boys wouldn't do the same, creating a false dichotomy of "boys' toys" and "girls' toys".
This is, quite simply, not okay.
I happen to have been born in a male body, which means that, if I don't shave my face every 3 days or so, I end up looking like a demented coal miner. Does this mean that I can't relate to waiting for someone to call or come home, like on "Hard To Take"? Not hardly. And when we encounter women artists, speaking plainly and honestly about their experience, in a masterful way, we learn more about how other people live, which is one of the main points of art.
The time has come, o my brothers, to get in touch with your feminine side. The time has come to listen, and try and understand. No rhetoric is required to enjoy State Of Confusion, however. Broken Sea are, quite simply, a bitchin' rock 'n roll band, with chops across the board. This was Broken Sea's first time in a real studio, recording at Poons' Head Studios, and they are coming out sparking! Definitely a talented bunch to keep an eye and ear on!
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