Hailing from Long Island, NY, State Lines come from a long list of notable punk bands who call the area home. They have been quick in establishing themselves as a talented, young band with strong potential. Last year’s Hoffman Manor was a clinic in catchiness with a raw, familiar sound that garnered comparisons to Tigers Jaw and Brand New, but was a common description that didn’t detract from obvious songwriting chops and a tendency to get stuck in your head for hours at a time. After being signed to Tiny Engines earlier in the year, it was with much anticipation that the band geared up to release new material.
Their new EP, a four song, self-titled 7”, does not disappoint in the least in an immediate display of gritty self-confidence that chugs along at an upbeat pace. Employing rougher production and a melodic edge with the same urgent, youthful feel, State Lines have succeeded in releasing a solid, enjoyable follow-up to their well-received debut. Showing moments that hint at maturation and the inclusion of more aggressive musical accompaniment, the EP feels like a natural progression without feeling recycled from previous efforts.
Barely breaking the 10-minute mark, it’s devoid of filler and jumps along comfortably while exploring the exhaustive and toiling experiences of growing up and impressing oneself on society. From the desperate pursuits of long-distance romantics to questions of sanity and alienation, lead vocalist Jonathon Dmitri applies his coarse and exuberant voice over driving guitars and harmonizing backing vocals from guitarist Tom Werring, creating a textured array of tight musicianship and sprawling lyrics paired with bassist Johnny Wims and drummer Teddy Sahrs.
From opener “5’s On The Elephant” the band firmly composes the pace and direction they’ve taken to follow-up Hoffman Manor amid lyrics such as “I’ll stand as still as you need me/ as still as a jumpy bag of bones can be,” exposing vulnerability with sheer determination. On the EP’s instantly likable single “Win Free,” Dmitri howls, “if love is tired – oh, nevermind – I’ll tuck my tail, I’ll run and hide,” constructing a narrative of self-doubt and uncertainty in contrast with the cheery nature of the accompanying surroundings.
While State Lines is by no means groundbreaking, nor is their latest EP a far departure from their previous work, they have proven to be a talented group of individuals who are more than capable of constructing fresh, well-written songs that flow with energy and frantic excitement. They are a force to be reckoned with in the punk community with enough aggressive pop attitudes to keep you dancing well into the beer-lit night.
8.0 / 10
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