, the third album from Andy Dragazis's Blue States
project sees the now London-based three piece shift direction again, albeit ever so slightly. Still lushly orchestrated and arranged with bags of cinematic charm, Blue States sound more like a band than ever before. Guitar and vocalist Chris Carr sings on most of the 10 songs with a gentle voice that every so often breaks into Morrissey-esque musings and never more so than on the melancholy album closer, "Sad Song". This extremely British vocal combined with steady, crisp drums, acoustic guitar and a wall of strings, organs and electric guitar is reminiscent in grandeur to Spiritualised.
The funkiest number is the opener "Across the Wire" where a straightforward, upbeat trip-hop groove is underpinned by imposing strings that add a certain gravity while maintaining the accessibility of the tune. Instrumentals "One Night on Tulane" and "Output" are more likely what fans of Nothing Changes will be waiting for--eerie soundscapes with a retro-futurist twist; the former full of grandeur and hairs on the back of your neck moments and the latter a kooky cyber-kitsch ditty.
The Soundings won't please everyone for it's not so out there or up there like the last two albums but if you're not hooked on first listen, it may well be worth giving it a few more goes. --David Trueman