ALBUM REVIEW: State Shirt goes beyond stereotype


Let’s play out a situation for you to imagine: a new album by a lone singer/songwriter making music in his bedroom with his Macbook, looping station and a handful of instruments.

Doesn’t exactly sound like the world’s most original concept, now does it?

Originality aside, Massachusetts-based artist State Shirt takes what seems like such a typical set-up and soars above the stereotypical premise. State Shirt, real name Ethan Tufts, blends indie-tronica, dream-pop and singer/songwriter influences to craft up a swirling chamber of echo-filled bliss for his third release, "Let’s Get Bloody."

The brilliance of "Let’s Get Bloody" comes from a couple directions, one being Tufts' vocals. Much like Andrew Gonzalez’s performance on M83’s smash album "Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming," Tuft keeps his vocals soft and sensual with large amounts of loops and echo on them, waiting for the best moment (usually when the chorus kicks in) to let his voice soar high above the music. The vocal execution is fantastic and enthralling as the album progresses.

Another fantastic part of State Shirt’s music is how it isn’t afraid to get in your face. While the music is, for the most part, very calm and collected with its dreamy atmospheres, it enjoys breaking away and adding some big sounds to it. The choruses for “Cassettes” and “Suffer Someday” are beautiful with the right amount of climax, without losing its tender, emotional feel.

What really sells this album is the sheer amount of scope and atmospheric texture being produced. Almost all the songs have this aural-warping amount of reverberation and delay behind the vocals and electronics, taking what can sometimes be so simple and making it larger than life. All it takes is one listen to the smooth warbling of space behind “Beth’s On Fire,” or the dark, almost Depeche Mode-influenced “Crush” for the subtle impact of the atmosphere to strike between the ears.

The combination of these elements produces a sound that can only be described as ethereal — something that Cocteau Twins would be proud of, minus the incomprehensible singing. Each track describes a unique tale while never straying too far from the centralized ideal of the music.

"Let’s Get Bloody" showcases itself as an album filled with impeccable songwriting skills and passionate delivery. The soft and careful melodies are intriguing enough to capture attention and catchy enough to keep listeners hooked throughout the album. If looking for an excellent example of bedroom musician with all the talent of a major label musician, look no further than State Shirt’s music.

State Shirt releases music under a Creative Commons license, meaning all of his music can be legally downloaded and even used and remixed for free (as long as you give credit). State Shirt’s music can be found at www.stateshirt.com.

5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Indietronica/Dream-Pop

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