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States - Paradigm Album Cover

States - Paradigm

Reviewed by
7.0
States - Paradigm
Producer: Bryan & Stephen Laurenson
Label: Self-released
Release Date: December 3, 2013
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.


My relationship with States began in March of 2013 when I reviewed the re-release of their full length debut, Room to Run. It was an enjoyable release that still holds up for me.

The all star cast is back again but with a different approach than last time. Harboring a DIY mindset, just like on their debut EP, they've entrusted the production of the album to guitarists Stephen and Bryan Laurenson and put faith in their fans to fund the album via Kickstarter. The result, Paradigm, is a noticeably diverse, yet uncomplicated and simple release. I asked Bryan about the production process for the album:
Stephen and I typically write and record at the same time. We had all this material that Stephen and I had started and had implemented a lot of Mindy's ideas into, and we were really just excited about the way it sounded and the direction it was heading. It just felt right to continue to just evolve the material we had and the recordings that we had going.

Who's to say we can't live forever?

I'm going to focus on the back half of the album first. "Bones" is a great example of the balanced simplicity on the album. Its slow pace would have benefited the structure of [Room to Run[/i]. It falls right into the peculiar pair of "Erase it All" and "Electric Mind." They carry a theme common to the album of post-relationship woes but there's a darker sound with these two and they just don't mix well with the album.

The back half of the album starts climbing higher with "All in My Head," a breath of air after the duo that preceded it. The only downfall is that the bridge could have been a highlight of the entire record. It builds up with Mindy belting, "Leaving everything / ignore delusion / it was an accident / I made it in my head" but then the song leads right into another repeated chorus. It would have greatly benefited from pushing the vocals a bit more or putting in a guitar solo before the last chorus.

Paradigm leaves its lackluster basin completely and finishes the album strong. "Running Awake" is well placed. That lead guitar in the beginning gives it a nice character. It's got an atmospheric, U2 vibe to it, but it works well. There's really no obvious hook in the song; it just flows nicely.

At first, closer "Absolute" seemed to fall short, but when I stopped comparing it to Room to Run's "Follow it Home," I fell in love. Easily one of the best choruses in the band's discography, White sings "It feels like heaven when you're out of sight (and out of mind) / I got so caught up thinking you were ever worth the time." She introduces a nice surprise and staggers the second half of the chorus for the second go around. The song could easily have evolved into a five minute epic which may have made it even better.

Chasing after stars, I lost the moon.

Now with the nitty-gritty out of the way, we move on to the album's first half, where it really shines.

"Circles" is proof at just how talented the Laurenson's are as producers. States has never sounded so good. "I Hope You Stay Gone" takes the best of the strongest tracks of Room and raises the bar entirely. It's enjoyable in its music as well as in White's punching melody. It's a slap in the face both to the listener and the poor sap that White is singing about ("I got your voicemail / no thanks, I won't return it / you want your things back? / I might've left 'em burning"). It sits comfortably in that anchor #2 spot and I haven't been able to shake it since I first heard it.

"The Night" carries the appeal of its predecessor. It hosts a particular "We Are Young" (Fun) vibe which makes it a great candidate for commercial success. Coincidentally, White sings "We are young / we will run to anywhere that we can / we live in the minutes / we've got the time to spend" in the song's second verse. It's not even one of those obvious tracks that sounds nothing like the rest of the album and was produced just for commercial success. It's just a great song.

The funky "Fever" features some hammering piano and a slick bridge. It has synth, pounding drums, and a different sounding chorus. White really lets loose on the last chorus, I just wish she would have done that throughout the entire song.

Oddly, "Summer Love" initially has a wintery feel to it but then switches to a feeling of late night car rides, something that would be found in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It's beautiful. White closes the song with, "When we were young and so lost / I'd give anything to go back to summer love." I love her inflection on "lost."

I will never fit your prototype.

I hope I'm in the minority, but I enjoyed Room to Run just a bit more. Paradigm has a much wider scope, however, which is why I think it'll be well received. I liked the louder songs of Room to Run; "Captivating Me," "Versus the Mirror," "Can't Explain." I'd love for States to push the envelope even more on their next release. Get loud. Or strip down even more. They have the prowess and resources to play around with different sounds and still produce pleasing results. Having two producers in the band will benefit them greatly.

Considering the mellow tone of both Lydia and Copeland, I asked Bryan how it felt having the musical freedom to do whatever they wanted and if they're making the music they were always meant to make:
This is definitely the most free I've ever felt making a record. We didn't have any labels or producers or really anyone outside of us giving input. In terms of the five of us, making music together as States, this was the album we were meant to make.

Read my full interview with Bryan Laurenson here.

If You Like What's In Here, You Might Like States All the Day Holiday, The Boxer Rebellion, Wolftron, Metric

Tracks and Links
1. Circles
2. I Hope You Stay Gone
3. The Night
4. Fever
5. Summer Love
6. Bones
7. Erase It All
8. Electric Mind
9. All In My Head
10. Running Awake
11. Absolute

States is:
Mindy White
Bryan Laurenson
Stephen Laurenson
Jonathan Bucklew
Dean Lorenz

Official Website
Facebook
Twitter (Band)
Twitter (Mindy White)
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 18
03:16 PM on 02/06/14
#2
Psib
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That video review was really well produced. I hope you guys do more of those in the future.
06:44 PM on 02/06/14
#3
Anthony Sorendino
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That video review was really well produced. I hope you guys do more of those in the future.
Thanks! That means a ton.
11:13 PM on 02/06/14
#4
Symphonicaxiom
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I think Circles and Erase It All are the two best songs they've ever written, but I still can't help feeling the record is disjointed and still just missing the potential. Love them though. Can't not like.
11:46 PM on 02/06/14
#5
Zamilton Nerfy
is goin to Bear Prom
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Really cool video, very well done. I thought this was a fun, catchy album, but it hasn't stuck with me very much. She's got a great voice. Never checked Room to Run, but I guess I should now.
11:49 PM on 02/06/14
#6
Vance Mook
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Really, really awesome format and the video was incredibly well done. Hope to see more of these in the future!
06:15 AM on 02/07/14
#7
Anthony Sorendino
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Really cool video, very well done. I thought this was a fun, catchy album, but it hasn't stuck with me very much. She's got a great voice. Never checked Room to Run, but I guess I should now.

For sure. It definitely has some more pop-infused tracks, which I like.

Really, really awesome format and the video was incredibly well done. Hope to see more of these in the future!

Thanks, dude!
08:18 AM on 02/07/14
#8
Ska Senanake
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Time To Begin is still their best track IMO
10:18 AM on 02/07/14
#9
baton
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Great review and that was really well done with the video - sometimes it's cool to view it that way. And - I love that album actually, it's really all over the place, like you said it has some slower paced songs, which is good for me ('Asleep' for example was my favourite back in the past). And you're probably in the minority with even liking Room To Run at all, but I'm in that minority with you - although Paradigm for me, is much better! I prefer the darker sounds from them, RTR was cool, but only here and on the EP I'm getting chills from some of the melodies.
One thing that is a downfall to me - is maybe the mentioned funkyness, I mean, I like 'Fever' quite enough, but what the hell is with this intro? It's really one of the most annoying parts that I've heard in a long time ;p And I'm only speaking about the first 5 seconds or so of course! So little, but still... Only without that one thing the album sounds really good, that's a good step in production for them.
12:01 PM on 02/07/14
Anthony Sorendino
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Great review and that was really well done with the video - sometimes it's cool to view it that way. And - I love that album actually, it's really all over the place, like you said it has some slower paced songs, which is good for me ('Asleep' for example was my favourite back in the past). And you're probably in the minority with even liking Room To Run at all, but I'm in that minority with you - although Paradigm for me, is much better! I prefer the darker sounds from them, RTR was cool, but only here and on the EP I'm getting chills from some of the melodies.
One thing that is a downfall to me - is maybe the mentioned funkyness, I mean, I like 'Fever' quite enough, but what the hell is with this intro? It's really one of the most annoying parts that I've heard in a long time ;p And I'm only speaking about the first 5 seconds or so of course! So little, but still... Only without that one thing the album sounds really good, that's a good step in production for them.
Great input. Thanks!
08:00 PM on 02/07/14
SweetThye
esta noche sera mia
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This album is INFINITELY better than Room To Run
08:17 PM on 02/07/14
Matt Chylak
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Really well-produced video. I'm kind of back and forth on how I feel about video reviews though. On one hand, I like hearing little bits and pieces of an album I haven't heard. On the other, I really started to lose interest at around the 3 minute mark. I read the review in about a minute and a half, so it's hard to keep my attention for three minutes longer than that when I (1) am not particularly invested in the album and (2) roughly know what you're going to say.

All that said, definitely a cool thing for AP to keep doing.
08:43 PM on 02/07/14
Anthony Sorendino
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Really well-produced video. I'm kind of back and forth on how I feel about video reviews though. On one hand, I like hearing little bits and pieces of an album I haven't heard. On the other, I really started to lose interest at around the 3 minute mark. I read the review in about a minute and a half, so it's hard to keep my attention for three minutes longer than that when I (1) am not particularly invested in the album and (2) roughly know what you're going to say.

All that said, definitely a cool thing for AP to keep doing.
Thanks! Yea, it's definitely a goal to make them shorter in the future!
05:32 PM on 02/08/14
thechetearly
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i like the music of this record. but jesus, the lyrics just get worse and worse and worse. how can people who were in two AMAZING bands with such good writing, be okay with words as bad as these?
03:09 PM on 02/09/14
Vance Mook
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Really well-produced video. I'm kind of back and forth on how I feel about video reviews though. On one hand, I like hearing little bits and pieces of an album I haven't heard. On the other, I really started to lose interest at around the 3 minute mark. I read the review in about a minute and a half, so it's hard to keep my attention for three minutes longer than that when I (1) am not particularly invested in the album and (2) roughly know what you're going to say.

All that said, definitely a cool thing for AP to keep doing.

Yeah, but some people are invested in the record...isn't that the intended audience? I mean, nobody has to watch the video, and if you weren't that into it, you could've just read the text. The text may be slightly redundant, but I think it's there for those who might not be able to view the video. I think videos around the 5-minute mark are a spot-on length, but perhaps that's just personal preference.

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