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Reviews
The Resonance Association - We Still Have the Stars
Wednesday, April 01 2009 @ 01:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: Blond Adonis

We Still Have the Stars

Artist: The Resonance Association United Kingdom

Title: We Still Have the Stars

Label: Mrs. Vee Recordings United Kingdom

Genre: Ambient / Experimental Rock

Track Listing:

01 After the Storm
02 We Still Have the Stars
03 Path of Totality
04 None More Evil
05 Unite
06 Midnight Highway/The Grand Misunderstanding
07 Subatomic Zoo
08 The Moment Has Passed

The latest from England’s wonderful new sensation, The Resonance Association, a cool CD called We Still Have the Stars, a somewhat ambivalent title- what could they be talking about there?  Is that supposed to mean that, aside from all that’s spiralling downward in the world these days that there’s hope in the most overlooked places; ones that are always right there in front of your face, but never noticed because they’re taken for granted.  Or is it a sort of futuristic sort of philosophical lament - “oh well, we still have those bright, light giving stars, around which who knows how many other similar “solar” type systems exist in an infinitely large universe?  The human mind can’t really conceive of the concept of infinity. 

Anyway, I digress; the music on We Still Have the Stars starts off with a mellowed out space-theme that sounds like you’re entering ambient-land, but then after the title track, song number three, “Path of Totality” turns things around piquing a sort of “rock” vein, an instrumental jam, so to speak, that shows off their message that “hey!  We’re not just another shoe-gazing bunch of boors, we’re hipsters too-we rock!” -that sort of attitude.  They do throw down some quietly inserted vocal stylings on the record, on songs like “Unite”, a sexy jam, mixed deeply with a frenetic drum machine and swirling, wigged-out synthesizers that dominate the song, over the occasional guitar riffs that buzz in and out, but it’s that freneticism of the drum machine and the sensual, erotic whispering vocalizing which really get you tapping your toes and bopping your head up & down. 

So what, how does one possibly label this?  How can you possibly put it in a “box”?  It’d be pretty hard to do, since they just don’t follow any typical formula except for what sounds cool to them at the moment.  Following the disco-like “Unite” comes a slowed-down synth-mixed with trippy, crying guitar instrumental called “Midnight Highway/The Grand Misunderstanding” - a sort of song in two parts, I guess, but one whose two “slashes” go seamlessly into one another.  It’s a chill-out fantasy swirl that, in the latter half of the tune, uses a wailing guitar, thinly jangling over the whoosh of the synth-tones.  

The last two songs finish off the album in a lowdown prog-rock way, first on “Subatomic Zoo”, a song with a kind of London-grey tone of wah-wah pedal, crying guitar solos, in the vein of Steve Vai or Joe Satriani as well as a hush of a closed atmosphere that is fragile and can only sustain itself for so long.  The grand finale of We Still Have the Stars is a just-under-twelve-minute-long jam session entitled, “The Moment Has Passed”, a guitar-based jazzy jam that, about 5 minutes into the song, slows down to a synth-keyboard bring-down that gels up everything into an underwater, slow-motion drowning sensation that suddenly pops out of its stupor at about the 9:34 mark, whereby the guitars and beat pick right up where they left off and take the whole of the CD out in a melodic way that, not unlike an infamous 40 minute long Coltrane tune, will eventually bring the seemingly endless improv into a cohesive ending by returning to the theme from which they launched after the beginning and that’s what happens toward the end of “The Moment Has Passed”, which brings to an end a unique album that is tightly managed but that breaks away from any convention of the various genres that get thrown together in this musical casserole of a project - from slow, chill-out mellowness to danceable, frenetic, jazzy freakishness back to the shimmering gear-shift back down to a synth-based reflection and then back again.  The musical diversity on We Still Have the Stars shows through in the fact that each time you listen to it you’ll pick up another layered strata that you missed the previous time.

 

     


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