One of the most unlikely musical acts to come from Vermont is continuing their success in the rock world. The Static Age began receiving national attention a few years ago when videos from Neon Nights Electric Lives appeared on Fuse. Now this AFI-endorsed band has furthered their exposure with a new album, constant touring, and video airplay on MySpace and MTV Urge. That album is called Blank Screens, another fine showcase for the Static Age's brand of dark, electronic rock.
Their signature sound emerges immediately with the title track, as a happy keyboard piece contrasts nicely with the buoyant drum beat and the soft, gritty vocals of lead singer Andrew Paley. Skyscrapers follows with more of that sound as well as an even catchier chorus: "This is the panic in my head / This is the dead weight in my chest." First single Cherry Red is the catchiest of all with its sunny keyboarding courtesy of Sarah-Rose Cameron and a soaring chorus: "She sings a siren song / I am the damage done."
Several tracks kick up the pace even further while maintaining the band's overall sound. Trauma is a fairly fast paced rocker with a driving beat behind it. Marilyn has a slower pace, but its heavier chorus (The silence is closing in now / And all we have / Are questions that we can't answer) and more prominent guitar make it one of the harder rock tracks. Count the Dead is another upbeat track, this time with a somber anti-war theme behind it: "Is this all we are / Savage in our grace / With muted hearts and victory lace."
Another style frequently used by the Static Age is a dark, ambient sound. Its first appearance on Blank Screens comes in the form of Lights In the Attic, which takes nearly two minutes of lulling music before the faint vocals kick in, never disrupting the track's atmospheric quality. The Bluebird Room is the album's most haunting number, comprised of Paley's slow, pained vocals over Cameron's dark keyboard playing. It's a simple but very effective track. Closing track The Last Light In the West is a wonderfully epic piece of ambient synth rock, a perfect way to end this album.
Blank Screens does a great job of finding the middle ground between heavy and moody. Despite the atmospheric nature of the band, the album has enough rock elements to keep it upbeat, making it an album that many rock fans can enjoy.
Check them out at www.thestaticage.com or www.myspace.com/thestaticage.