The Great Depression is a band that first formed over twenty years ago. Back in 1995 the band released their first LP and it was followed up with a number of other releases. The band received some recognition but ultimately the members pursued other interests, which formed a gap between albums. After an eight-year hiatus the band decided to go back at it and record another full length entitled In A Starry State. The album took two years to complete but after taking a listen it’s not a surprise as the songs are multidimensional with rich instrumentation that I’m sure took some planning and thought.
In A Starry State is a concept album revolving around a dystopian, romantic tale that centers around a telepathic girl from a parallel universe. As with most concept albums if the music wasn’t good the concept would have little impact. Fortunately, the music propels the story and themes that the band puts forward.
The Great Depression is an eclectic band that is hard to label, which is good. There are elements of post-rock, shoegaze, electronic and indie rock on the twelve songs. At times I was reminded of bands like Spiritualized, The Flaming Lips, The Local Natives and even a tinge of New Order on the more dance based tracks. One thing all the songs have in common is that they contain an ethereal almost cosmic feel. The band implements the smart use of reverb that makes it seem like the songs are taking off towards the heavens.
The album starts with a brief intro entitled “Discorporate Melody,” which is created with pads and spoken word and sounds like it’s coming from an A.I. before launching into “Hey Go Easy (Serpentina).” The song is one of the many highlights on the album and brings to mind a band like Broken Social Scene. It not only contains some inventive sounds but also is quite catchy. Casper’s vocals during the verse sound like Daydream Nation era Thurston Moore.
“New Salem” revolves around intricate programming that ends up sounding like something you might hear from Cold Copy or New Order. It’s certainly one of the more danceable tracks on the album but also contains some unique twists and turns I wasn’t expecting. Great stuff.
“Visiting on Davenports” was a personal highlight that was one of the most emotionally resonant songs on the album. The vocal harmonies in the beginning are fantastic and the song ends up sounding absolutely huge. The band continues to impress with songs like “Something Like Shame” and “Psirene.” Each song has a different shade of emotion and feel but manages to be connected to the theme. “Thirteen Bells” is upbeat, infectious rock while “Philip K Disco” is packed in with enough layers that it ends up blurring the lines between rock and electronic music.
In A Starry State is an exceptional album that is consistently engaging and inventive. Suffice it to say this is required listening.
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