Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Static Age - Blank Screens CD Review

You know all of those Joy Division, Depeche Mode, The Police and mid-career David Bowie albums you have sitting around your house? You know how you love them to death, but you wished that the songs didn’t sound quite so cheesy at times? Yeah, admit it, you know the songs are great, but at times the cheese factor of the 80’s ended up overriding the positive qualities of some of the songs. Wouldn’t it be nice if, somehow, you could get those albums de-cheese-ified so that they sounded a lot more modern? The kick ass songs would be so much more kick ass and the blah songs would actually be good. Obviously this isn’t going to ever happen, but in place of cheese-less reissues, you can listen to Blank Screens, the sophomore effort from The Static Age.

Listening to the beautiful, yet melancholy, first three tracks of the album will bring back all of the feelings you had when you first started listening to New Order and The Cure back when you were a kid. And if you’re too young to remember who the heck they are, imagine the glam oriented songs from AFI’s Decemberunderground slowed down to a crawl and the volume turned from 10 to 7. Or, hell, I’d hope you’d have heard of The Killers and can imagine them with more synth, less tempo, and five times more talent in the songwriting department.

The album loses a little steam in the middle, however, as the pace starts to pick up, but thankfully the lyrics still deal with longing for love, failed romantic endeavors, and pining for meaning in this horrible world so you won’t feel bad lying on your bed, alone in your room, crying about how your friends don’t understand you and how you wish that cute goth chick from bio class would just give you a chance because you know you’d treat her like a queen.

Actually, it’s probably a good thing that “Trauma” and “Cherry Red” have a more post-dance-punk (yeah, that's right, I just said post-dance-punk) with a synth feel to them so that there is at least a little upbeat energy to be found on this album, or else you'd feel overwhelmingly suicidal by the time you’re done listening to the entire album. Truth be told, though, that ability to make you feel good about suicide is the beauty of this CD -– much like modern melancholic pseudo-indie movies such as Garden State, Closer, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind you find yourself feeling tragically good about the characters. It is this sense of tragic happiness that you feel emanating in waves from Blank Screens.

How often do you find a good new wave, post-punk, emotionally charged band in today’s metalcore and pop-punk dominated scene? Not very often, if at all, which makes this release so much more important than your usual run of the mill garbage being churned out on a daily basis. So go grab your mascara and get into the mellow beauty of The Static Age.

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