Review Summary: After extensive touring, De Staat has delivered a fresh slice of stoner rock, funk, and post-punk that should appeal to many music listeners. Very underrated band.
After stumbling across the song "Sweatshop" on Pandora Radio, the highly stylized vocals, and the weird synth melodies, comparable to a band such as Butthole Surfers gave me the notion that this band was something unique and interesting. Or in other words, it really resonated with me and i wanted to hear more.
Those two attributes are something that can be found on most songs on the record, perhaps most notably "Old McDonald Don't Have No Farm No More", "Tumbling Down", and "I'm a Rat". There is also very little reverb on most of the songs giving it a dry, hot atmosphere.
Giving this album a first listen, My first impression was that this is the type of album that's quirky, and experimental without being overblown or pretentious. Everything instrument, every melody, and every nuance, fits the music as a whole very well. This is especially true for the horror-film worthy dissonance of "Keep Me Home". A slow burner that exemplifies the chaos you might experience during a Nightmare, or after watching a horror-film. The song's moderate tempo, and bone-chilling harmonies elevate the "fear factor" of the song, and fit perfect on a soundtrack to a scary movie. When you listen to the first four songs back to back, with each song, you may think "wow this is very different from the last one". And after you've heard the experimental-funk of "Sweatshop" you may think you've heard the most unusual thing on the album, but you'd be wrong! "Old McDonald Don't Have No Farm No More", a percussive, marching-band styled dance-punk track really takes the weirdness up a notch with lead singer Torre Florim yelling lines such as "Get that cow!/Face to the east!/Slice that throat!/Get ready for the feast!/ over floor toms, handclaps, and synths that drive the melody. It's really an adrenaline rush, and the sparse instrumentation sounds perfectly cohesive with the vocals. Couldn't ask for a better song. "Tumbling Down" echoes the sparse instrumentation of the aforementioned track, but with more synths Influences from 80s post-punk, and stoner rock, can be found in many other songs. like the Nick Cave-inspired 'I'll Never Marry You", and the rumbling guitars, and bass of the opening track "Ah I See". "Serial Killer" has a funk rock groove to it, as do many of these songs, only this song is more challenging to listen to, than previous tracks because of it's cacophonous instrumentation, and sparse vocals.
Back to the Grind, is less funk, and more stoner rock.. The entire track is very sparse and feels like the musical equivalent of a dry, hot desert.. As an individual track, it's ok, i'm not a huge fan of it. But as a closer to this album, it couldn't be better.
To sum it up, De Staat has delivered quite a brilliant, and diverse record that can be both catchy, and accessible at times, and at other times, heady and challenging. There are a lot of different sounds and styles on it, thus it differs from conventional alt. rock. But it sounds very cohesive, and is perhaps one of my favourite albums i've heard this year.