Thursday, June 2, 2016


Art Of The State
I first saw this band perform when they opened for The Undead at Tompkins Square Park the weekend of May 29. A few other bands from New York and Manhattan were my firsts that Sunday; I liked them all for bringing something different to the bill. Universal Truth Machine for example were a mix of classic U.S. punk, early 90s alternative, rockabilly and country & western with a female singer who played rhythm guitar and whose style suggested sexual badassery similar to Velocity Chyaldd of another local band called Vulgaras. I find such a vocal style is instrumental in shaping this band’s sound as much as their range in influences, and gives the accompanying music an additional push. The singer’s name is Lee Lawless and her voice resonates of a hellcat who would kick someone in the balls with a steel toed combat boot for giving her unwelcome glances. But I spoke to her last weekend and assure you she is approachable if you tell her you liked the band. From the first song “The Trouble Is” you get an impression of a seedy bar somewhere in the Midwest as she describes how her testiness regarding people who try to impress women and the state of the country can get her into trouble occasionally. The song sustains its boisterous feel as guitarist J.D. plays leads incessantly and bassist TJ Frawls and former drummer Lex Dunbar present the feel of a heavy country rock band. Art Of The State continues this mood with a lyrical theme of the country turning into a facsimile of Orwell’s 1984. These aren’t your typical punk songs as they reach the four and five minute mark, respectively. The lyrics are undeniably punk for their brashness in addressing world affairs. This aspect of the band continues in It's Always Fucking Something until it reaches a fever pitch. This is the most punk sounding song here, followed by Piggy which brought to mind a heavier Pearl Jam with lyrics and vocals indicating Lawless has gone far beyond the breaking point and is heading to a more animalistic state of mind. Did she jump willingly or was she pushed? That's for the listener to decide, but for its angst it reinforces my belief that true punk rock is still out there.  -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. The Trouble Is
2. Art Of The State
3. It's Always Fucking Something
4. Piggy

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