State Champion – “Fantasy Error” – [Sophomore Lounge]
Roll over Camper van Beethoven and tell the Dirty Three the news? Forceful four piece from Louisville, that flies a reprise of the college radio pennant from its
championship daze. A slight country twang tang to Ryan Davis vocals, sipping echoes of the hayseed heydays in the ol’ Palace farm/still. The album opts for
more Sunbathing than moonshine, whereas Bonnie PB sees a darkness,
Davis and the Champs see a sunny back yard with a beer in each hand.
Now maybe it’s a bit sunny cuz a neighbor cut down too many trees, or
the postman is a peeping tom. There’s not too much Bible belting or holy
rolling in these songs, although among lyrical gems we find
“There’s a special trashcan in heaven where prayers like mine go”
Songs veer between general twisted insights like that and more personal torn
heart strings. I get the sense that love failed before it could prevail, but
maybe it happened so recently that there’s an optimistic photo finish waiting
for the final results. Or maybe that’s just the band enjoying a good tune, drums
are pretty robust on this, but almost every song has a moment where the
music thins out for a bar or two. Well crafted work, epiphanies can rise on
the shores of those more silent parts. Especially thanks to Sabrina Rush’s violin.
Like Warren Ellis, her playing is both sad and strong, not embarking on
his brand of searching solos, but adding just the right shadows to these
sunny strummers-versus-bummers. The more time I spend with the lyrics,
the more I’m digging them.
-Thurston Hunger and Gene Simmons