Year Of The Crow
Formerly known as Flag Of The Shiners, this group has had various members since Chad Urmston formed it in 2002, but is currently settled as a trio. This release is their third studio album and the band can be seen on tour in the UK during May.
Starting as they mean to go on, "Guantanamo" is a politically-charged punkish number built on rolling guitars and a cranked up bass. Unpredictable with sudden tempo changes, it quickly grabs your attention. An amalgamation of garage-rock and ska, "Unfortunates" is a rant against media uproar and witch hunts, damning the attitude of "any suspect will do". It is clear that State Radio aren't afraid to tackle hard-hitting issues, yet it would be easy for their views to be lost behind dynamic songs such as "CIA" or the more straightforward rock'n'roll flavour of "Rash Of Robberies".
On a record which regularly delivers the unexpected, it is the second part which perhaps contains the most pleasant surprises. "Fall Of The American Empire" proves to be a very relaxed and bluesy conclusion to "Year Of The Crow", but "Wicker Plane" stands out as above the rest. Armed with a killer riff and funky bass, Urmston even delivers the vocals in a similar matter to Anthony Kiedis, resulting in a very-Red Hot Chili Peppers style song that is highly enjoyable. Whilst not quite enough to justify making this an essential release to investigate, it does mean anyone who does take the time for it should find something of intrigue, at the very least.