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Release date: October 29, 2007
"End The Moderation." Is that some sort of mission statement? Is Statehood sick to death of the middle ground, or do they just love a good turn of phrase? Listening to this D.C. band's debut is like enjoying a fine cocktail of both.
"It's time to pay attention," sings Clark Sabine in the opening shot, "A Story's End," and it's good advice for you and everyone. Here are some things you’ll want to know right away: Clark was in a hometown-secret band called The Motorcycle Wars, and was known for getting a little intense during shows - one involved a cot ride and 12 stitches in the back. In 2005, he locked himself in a room with an MPC 4000 and a pot of coffee, emerging eventually with an album's worth of songs yearning to breathe free. He played them out a bit like karaoke on speed, but something was missing.
Left-handed rhythm section Joe Easley and Eric Axelson, the incredible engine room behind The Dismemberment Plan, were free, as it turns out - for the first time since their old band's demise. The trio barricaded themselves in the basement, loaded up on more coffee, and twisted the songs into a living, breathing beast. And it was good. Damned good. But something was still missing. Enter Leigh Thompson, formerly of old Plan buddies Vehicle Birth, with new layers of unbridled guitar. It was complete.
By the end of 2006, Statehood - give it to D.C., suckaz, or they’re just gonna take it - had written a batch of new songs as a four piece, none of them moderate. They hit the studio to record them with another former D-Plan rocker, Jason Caddell, who helped sharpen the edges into something both intensely pop-driven and just plain intense. The songs sound utterly fresh and sneakily familiar, with bits of Jawbox, Mission of Burma and caffeine blended into a concoction that drives you from start to finish. From sing-alongs ("End the Moderation" and "A Story's End") to sonic bursts ("Sense of Home") to creepy and sonorous grooves ("Every Single Question") you won't know where the time goes.