The Buddha Den

Everything you wanted to know about the Dayton music scene and more but were afraid to ask

Friday, September 11, 2009

REVIEW: State School-Cats In Boxes EP the city of Dayton rallies itself against the external perceptions of it as a 'dying city' with the semi-annual Urban Nights event this evening with the acknowledgment of Dayton's Creative Class, we'd like to offer up one of our current favorite originals in the Gem City as a salute: the lovable trio known as State School. Over the past year, Eric/Erica/Noelle have induced more ear-to-ear smiles in this town than any other band, with their skit-like presentations and relentlessly sunny melodies, it's difficult to not hear/see this band without walking away feeling better about...well, everything...

...although some rough demos surfaced late last year, the band set to task in constructing their first proper release, the subsequent Cat In Boxes EP, with the help of local recording mastermind Mike Perkins [of The Esther Caulfield Orchestra]. With Perkins at the helm [and adding sublime guitar and pedal steel flourishes throughout], the band successfully translated to tape the intimacy and jovial interplay which defines their aesthetic. From the kickoff of "Let the Hurricane Roar", it is evident that State School possess a wicked sense of humor and irreverence [dig the "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" singalong"] that punctuates and propels the lyrical content throughout. As they weave stories of riding bikes throughout Dayton, memorable nights spent imbibing with friends, and take stabs at everything from CSN&Y to avocado growth regions, their humble and self-deprecating tone keeps things from delving into a cyncial, snarky space...

...perhaps the most notable element of Cats In Boxes is State School's ability to make the most of a limited, primitive instrumental palate. While acoustic guitar makes appearances throughout [not to mention the subtle, yet potent, accompaniments from Perkins as mentioned previously], it is the prolific application of ukeleles, toy organs, kazoos, and any other noisemaker within reach that keeps this such a fun listen. Likewise, with such a lightweight instrumentation, State School are quite capable of infiltrating the smaller, more intimate listening spaces which we've found best to take in a live performance...

...put on the Cat In Boxes EP. Take a listen. If you don't find yourself smiling uncontrollably and dancing around yr room singing along, well, we may not be able to help you. State School will perform at the 2009 Dayton Music Fest at the Trolley Stop....

MP3: State School "Something About Sleep"
MP3: State School "Gears 4 Beers"

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