Leeds continues to produce quality bands and Stateless are no exception. They have an interesting background having been dropped from a major label to then be resigned by K7 records shows that the industry are clearly interested in their sound. DJ Shadow is especially a fan. The band having toured with Shadow last year and singer Chris James' vocals featuring on Shadow's recent album 'The Outsider' shows Stateless have potential be a heavyweight band. Their self entitled debut album is released on K7 records and is produced by Jim Abiss (Artic Monkeys, Kasabian). With a host of festival performances lined up and quality gigs I'm sure people will be taking notice of Stateless this year.
What strikes out to me about this album is the depth and serenity of the sound. There's no denying Chris James' vocals. He has an honesty and soul that will provoke and uplift many people. He can hit falsetto on a par with Jeff Buckley. His lyrics are truly stirring and have a deep sensitivity. The music is well arranged and compliments the vocals very well. The influences go back to the mid-nineties with Bristol bands like Massive Attack and Portishead and other influences like DJ Shadow and for me Radiohead. The rhythm section is focused on breakbeat sounds that David Levin on drums shows quality craftsmanship and Justin Percival holds it all down on bass. The talented Kidkanevil adds elements of sampling and scratching to keep it totally contemporary and interesting. The keys by Rod Dunlop are well pronounced on the album that do create a sophisticated edge to it all.
This album certainly is an emotional journey that has a lot layers. There's some definite standout tracks like 'Bloodstream' that certainly will be providing royalty cheques for these guys for a long time once word gets out. 'Radiokiller' is also a cool track with great use of drums and funky keys. The whole album is mellow and does have a melancholy vibe but it's certainly edgier than Coldplay and would come across very well at live at festivals.
Overall this is a good debut. It has soft moments and hard moments to keep it interesting and certainly shows the range and dynamic nature of this band. It's interesting to think that most of these tracks are quite old as most of the tracks were written when they were first signed so the next album could be really something. They've created an excellent platform to progress that could see them get heavier or more serene. Stateless are quite clearly accomplished musicians and have a great front man. Mix this clearly with a lot of soul and consciousness we could see Stateless as a serious band with a mission to create something fresh and innovative.