First Steps Into. . . , the new album from Blue States, is a kind of album that is hard for me to not cop out on when reviewing. While I’m sure there is some sort of unifying concept that could be investigated and written about in this review, or some song cycle sitting subliminal under the threshold of my ears, I cannot grasp a gossamer of a theme to write about, nor some silly simile involving organic underbrush, relativistic time lapses, or even extraterrestrials to whom I’d grown so fond of referring. The subject matter is incredibly broad for a compact disc, huge varieties of instruments, sounds, and moods that scan upon a lasers edge. So in a typical frustrated writer cop out, I will write precisely about my inability to precisely point out any specific characteristic, though the review will be void of any obnoxious self-referential inabilities with language or postmodern distraction.
The musical matter dealt with in First Steps Into. . . certainly does not seem like Blue States’ first foray into the melody, rightly so considering the other three albums under Blue States’ belt. The deftness with which this music is performed is like sleight of hand, tricks before my ears to make it all sound so easy, little going on to take notice of at first glance of the ear drum. I’m sure that anybody who were to take an honest listen to it would disagree immediately, but if they were to try to defend their dissent later, they would be left exactly the position I am in now (oops), like trying how to describe how a magician pulled a rabbit out of my shoe. The trick is grand and triumphant over all expectations, but how it is pulled off is beyond me, leaving me with many incomplete “Well”s and “Umm”s (double oops), pointing and starting and stopping, finally giving up in well orchestrated astonishment (well shit). This magician doesn’t bother with playing up the trick he performed either, but continues on in onslaught, a relentless deftness with the utmost grace and professionalism that is honestly belittling, not in a condescending way, but in a way where its obvious that the man on stage stands higher than his audience, largely due to his abilities with such grandeur.
As I said before, the music’s span is broad like a mountaintop view: sublime, a wide range of instruments implemented with their own niche, nothing ever used for novelty. Many of these instruments come synthesized to augment their power throughout the piece, resounding loud over the valley bellow to make every sound grand. The vocal work in particular is hauntingly appropriate to the daunting setting that this music seems to provide soundtrack for. The greatness, the largeness, of First Steps Into. . . comes in the adept execution time after time with an incredible array of snippets of styles of sound and song.
So I really fuckin’ blew it on that un-self-referential standard I thought I could uphold. Looking at it now though, it seems a lot less whiny than I thought it would, more like honest attempts at description of an odd feeling of exultance that is forever uncertain, a converse malaise that can be expressed best when I use my own incapability as a model, as my inability is far too blunt to maneuver the ability performed numerous times before my very ears, able to play again and again with the push of a button, though unable see with every listen.
That was kinda whiny.