Review Summary: A promising album that sets a high standard for forthcoming releases.
Staring Into Nothing are a progressive rock trio consisting of Steve Rogers on keyboards and shared lead vocal duties with guitarist Savannah Rogers, as well as Kurt Barabas on bass and guitar. Power
is the first album in a planned series of releases, the next of which – Love
– are currently being worked on by the band.
The sound on Power
bears similarities to many other modern prog rock acts but there is enough here to suggest that Staring Into Nothing could eventually become a major player in the scene. “Puritans” is a fitting opener, a slow piano ballad which turns into a groovy rock song before ending almost as a completely different track altogether. “School Daze” continues in a similar vein but is far more of a straightforward pop song than the album’s opener. The tracks work well alongside one another and begin the album on a satisfying note. However, a good portion of the album feels more like a straight-up rock album rather than a full on progressive rock opera. Really it isn’t until “Information Crime” that the band gets really progressive, a nine-minute opus that shifts mood and style multiple times. The band bring in elements of progressive metal and bring a more rocking sound overall to really up the album’s momentum. However, the following track goes even further and doubles up on the track time; at over 18 minutes long “Towers” is by far the most winding, progressive and interesting track on the record. Starting off with a slow ambient introduction, acoustic guitars and Savannah Rogers’ vocals, the song builds slowly and isn’t in any particular rush to reach its conclusion. There aren’t as many fireworks as there were in “Information Crime” but “Towers” is still a monolithic track that stands tall above all others on Power
While overall most of the album is pretty great, certain aspects of Staring Into Nothing’s sound do hold them back at times. The vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, but they do fit the music and overall vibe the group is going for. While at first they might seem grating, they are generally unproblematic. What is a bit more offensive though are the bad lyrics that pop up all over the record. Probably the best way to describe them is ‘clunky’; while there isn’t really anything vomit-inducingly bad, a whole lot of lines just stand out and feel really out of place and awkward. “Gates” does drop the “it’s time to kick some ass” lyric which is almost certainly the worst of the bunch and also highlights another minor flaw to the album - how cheesy a good portion of it can be. While prog rock is no stranger to cheese, Staring Into Nothing do sometimes venture into somewhat cringey territory. It’s a forgivable sin but it does sometimes take you out of the album a little.
On the whole, though, there are really good songs at the hearts of these compositions. As mentioned earlier, most of the songs are just really good pop songs at their core and Staring Into Nothing excel at creating memorable melodies and big choruses. Songs like “Obey”, “Big Brother” and “Freedom” keep the album’s momentum flowing even when it should be stuttering, and it’s hard not to appreciate just how much thought must have gone into the sequencing of the record. And when the band do get more progressive on Power
’s longer tracks, they show that they are able to keep things interesting and change up moods quite seamlessly. The guitar solos are also always fantastic, bringing some much-needed impetus to a few tracks. They’re never too flashy or overlong and they don’t feel forced, always making them welcome additions to each track they appear on.
Staring Into Nothing are an incredibly promising group of musicians who should be setting their sights high with forthcoming releases. Power
is a dynamic record that should appeal to anyone with an interest in prog rock and even casual fans of the genre could find things here to love about it. If the band is able to refine their sound they have the potential to unleash a pretty monstrous series of albums upon the world; I can’t wait to see what they will do next.