Good Night, States - "In The Impossible Tension" EP Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good Night, States - "In The Impossible Tension" EP Review

Good Night, States - In the Impossible Tension CD EP ReviewPittsburgh’s Good Night, States just released a new EP “In the Impossible Tension” which serves as a follow-up to the band’s 2008 full-length debut Short Films on Self-Control. While the sound of this EP is a departure from the full-band sounds of Short Films on Self Control, the shift is more evolutionary than a change in direction.

This disc was recorded by singer/songwriter Steve Gretz and multi-instrumentalist Joe Tanner during the pair’s tenure in Northern New Jersey. The other three (Pittsburgh-based) members of Good Night, States will be plugging in their sound for the band’s live shows. For this EP, Gretz and Tanner filled the missing members’ sounds with homemade electronics.

I haven’t given a lot of thought to a 2009 “Top 10” list but this disc will likely be on it. The problem that I’m having with this review is finding the right words to describe the music. “Indie rock” is too generic a phrase and it doesn’t do justice to the band’s music. I received a recent email that said that I seem to ‘have an opinion on pretty much everything’ (probably a true statement) but I’m having a hard time finding a label or band that I can use as a reference point to describe Good Night, States’ music. Some of the electronic bleeping (some of which is generated by a handheld 1980 Casio VL-Tone, a calculator, etc.) sort of reminds me of Pianosarus (does anyone outside of NYC remember them?) but this too isn’t quite a valid point of comparison.

As I haven’t been able to find the right words, I’m going to try and go through some of the labels that I’ve been considering:

Charming: “In The Impossible Tension” is completely charming; this isn’t ‘cutsie’ pop but delicate arrangements of subtly complex songs

Intimate: All of the songs have a ‘warmth’ that lets you connect with both the music and the lyrics

Twee: While there are some twee-ish elements in some of the songs, this label doesn’t hold for more than a few seconds of any one song. Steve Gretz’s world-weary vocals also minimize the validity of this label

Electronic: Even with the stripped down arrangements, there is more fullness to the songs than most electronic/electronica bands

Dark: While there are some melancholy lyrics, I’m probably not the best person to judge ‘dark’ as I have this CD sitting next to some death metal CDs in my review queue. ‘Brooding’ might be a better word.

In the Pittsburgh City Paper, Steve Gretz is quoted as saying “one band member referred to this record as 'Good Night, States with the rock 'n' roll taken out.'"

Here is a full-band version of the lead-off track from the EP, "Arsonist's Blues".

Whatever the case, this EP is significantly more that a stop-gap filler and I’m looking forward to the band’s next full-length.

Good Night States