By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The Heavenly States' debut disc is one of those albums that really makes you think. Not so much about the lyrics; those are kind of a dead end ("If you look/With your eyes/Do you know/What you will find?"). But--if you're armed with a smattering of knowledge about the Bay Area band's history, and a tendency to pontificate--it will elicit some idle reflection.
Topic A) The Red Herring That is Pedigree. One assumes that when bands collaborate, gig together and so forth, there's a musical simpatico at work. The Heavenly States are distant relatives to artists such as Smog and Will Oldham, both "distant" and "relatives" being the operative words. Turns out that the brother of States siblings Jeremy and Genevieve Gagon is tuned to the Drag City radar, and Oldham brother Paul is the one who may or may not like their band. So never mind: The Heavenly States sound kind of like Creed, if Creed had ever been into Camper Van Beethoven. Oh, and the States released a split single with Coldplay, which makes a bit more sense, but still not much.
Topic B) The Indie vs. Majors Switching Roles as a Sure Sign of Apocalypse. OK: The rock "revolution" redux has seen Interscope release the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs disc, Columbia send the Raveonettes to record stores and the Rapture sign to the mega of them all, Universal. Normally, The Heavenly States would be whoring for the majors--one of those slickly produced one-hitters who promptly disappear into the neverland of "what was their name again?" where they play shuffleboard with the likes of Candlebox and Vertical Horizon. Have the A&Rs genuinely lost interest in gravel-throated mediocrity? If not, how to explain the fact that The Heavenly States is out on Future Farmer, a San Francisco indie that has heretofore made an impressive little name for itself with a quality-controlled catalog of releases by Virgil Shaw and M. Ward?
Topic C) And in the First Place, Why?