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Media Reviews: “Resonate/Desperate” by State Faults

Grade: A+

On its Bandcamp website, State Faults tagged the phrase “real screamo.”

While this might seem bold or even pretentious to some, it’s not far from true.

State Faults remind me of turn-of-the-century screamo acts like On the Might of Princes or Blood Brothers, but it is grounded in the 90s post-hardcore/emo revival that is so common these days.

“Resonate/Desperate” isn’t really either of those things, though. The album, like so many before it, deals with general teenage and early 20s angst, but does so in a more coherent, poetic way than albums produced by many of State Faults’ peers, not to mention in a less cliché way. You can’t pretend that pretty much everything on this album hasn’t been covered before, but there’s something different about it. The execution is truly original.

The first thing that struck me about the album was how wintery it feels. Maybe it’s because of the somber lyrics, but the tone of the album is cold and monolithic. The music is glacial; listening to it during these transitional months going into winter feels right. I almost get chills listening to it.

Lyrically, the album is a pretty large bummer. Whether it’s the pondering of mortality in “Ultima” or the sad disconnect of “Luminaria,” the album contains some of the most heart-wrenching lyrics I’ve ever heard. However, though the lyrics themselves are powerful, delivery is just as important on this record. Singer Jonny Andrew has by far one of the most piercing voices I’ve ever heard, and it serves the music well. The earnestness with which he screams, “My life is a desolate peak/Life is a lonely disease” on the track “Luminaria” will likely devastate countless listeners. This is State Faults’ prerogative; to take the listener on a depressed emotional journey. And they do it very well.

With any genre that has such an emphasis on lyrics, it’s easy to forget about the music itself. To discount the backing music on this album would be a shame, because a lot of interesting stuff is happening. The band provides a good compliment to the vocals, and everything flows nicely. What is really impressive about the band is the great ear for melody they seem to have. The melodic guitar lines on “Diamond Dust” and “Wildfires” are simple, but extremely beautiful. It’s the simpler, more nuanced parts of Resonate/Desperate that impress, and it’s those parts that make the record what it is.

Before “Resonate/Desperate,” State Faults weren’t on my radar at all. For the past week, this album is nearly all I’ve been listening to. They’ve really made an album with a defined voice and aesthetic. With this album, I think they really have the potential to become central part of the current post-hardcore and hardcore scene.

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