Blue States - Man Mountain

Blue States come from that rare breed of alternative conductors - the sort of people who are as equally influenced by the the Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" or the High Llama's as they are by Vivaldi or Mozart. It's very premise built on the fact that the song writing and arrangements are done in an extremely solitary level and then once it comes to the recording sessions it is transformed through the power of a 40 piece orchestra to what we hear today. At times this can often to lead to dictatorial perfectionists who spend their whole lives in quest for the perfect symphony, but for their second album the Blue States head honcho Andy Dragazis has brought in the vocal talents of Tahita Bulmer. Using her vocals as an additional instrument it adds that element of variety which would otherwise be lacking through Dragazis compositions.

The centre piece of the album undoubtedly lies with "Season Song" featuring a full children's choir behind Bulmers angelic vocals. They do say never use children or animals on TV, but as this is music the rule doesn't apply and throughout the track recalls all the great moments of Children's choirs from Pink Floyds "The Wall", Alice Cooper's "Schools Out" while leaving out memories such as The Snowman and anything involving Michael Jackson and children's choirs. The rest of the album isn't so celebratory and is lyrically a little more introverted and reflective while haunting melodies float behind the likes of "Adrift" and "Doublespeak".

Ever the controlling conductor the collaborative work was not spread over the cause of the album and much of "Man Mountain" is the instrumentals of old. While in small doses these are refreshing emotional roller coaster it's a little too much to stomach over the space of the near 60 minute full album. The future however as a song writing team of Dragazis and Bulmer is assured and hopefully the next full release will be a more song based and structured affair. Blue States offer a sound which manages to cross over to the general public where once it would have only been in the domain of Opera Houses and Music Halls, yet still appeals to very specific tastes.

Alex McCann

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