Politcally Driven is an Understatement
Formerly a reggae/rock band, State Radio have turned over a new leaf with their second album sounding more like punk. The band have always been politically driven, but Year of the Crow vocalizes angry, unrelenting frustration with America, its government, and international social injustices like the genocide in Sudan.Former Dispatch frontman Chad Stokes leads the band on guitar and vocals, Chuck Fay contributes on bass, and Mike Najarian creates a solid, pronounced beat in every song on drums. The album consists of mostly uptempo rants which allow the listener little time to prepare for the next song. The mission of this album is outlined through the lyrics in each song: to make a point and influence those who listen.
“Guantanamo” sets the mood for the album with a direct attack on the Bush family influence on America, starting with President Bush’s grandfather in the early 1900s: “All hail the line of crooked white chiefs / Whose father stole the bones from an Indian grave.” Stokes is unyielding in his attack, as with his criticism of American safety through national security in “C.I.A.”
State Radio’s previous album Us Against the Crown contained three songs from the band’s debut EP Peace Between Nations. The songs’ musical composition had changed drastically in love songs “Mr. Larkin” and “The Diner Song,” however the lyrics still allowed the listener to relax. Finding an easy listen such as these on Crow is much more challenging, as seen in “Fight No More.” The rhythm is slow and laid back, but the words are intense: “Government agent arrivals, pale chief and his disciples / They crooked tongues, the acid lungs / We know not of your borders / But you push us to your corners.”
The album has edgy beats and lyrics so do not expect to chill out to it like previous State Radio records. It demands your complete attention.