State Faults hail from sunny Santa Rosa, California and this, ‘Desolate Peaks,’ is their debut album. They’re a post-hardcore bands of sorts with a sound reminiscent of 90s emo. They have hints of La Dispute about them definitely, and also Thursday. They are an intriguing prospect and this is definitely a Marmite album.
Opening track ‘Sleepwalker’ has a serenity to it that is quickly dispelled as soon as the vocals kick in. The music and vocals play against each other for supremacy throughout the album and are a shocking juxtaposition. Some may find it grating to listen to, however I think it is a refreshing sound and one that works well for State Faults.
Single ‘Arrowhead’ continues this theme as the honey-drenched guitars slide along smoothly in contrast to the piercing, desperate vocals. Whilst the backing music has something of a Friendly Fires feel to it, the vocals are more reminiscent of At The Drive In. It truly is a bizarre thing to listen to, and it takes a while to adjust. However I think the juxtaposition of sound works really well and creates a memorable listening experience.
Instrumental track ‘Shiver’ is a haunting moment that reaches its crescendo as it crashes into ‘Faultlines,’ a full on assault for the ears. ‘Wayfarer’ continues this theme, and here the music matches the vocals more, with a heavier guitar sound. ‘Teeth and Bones’ offers a truly amazing moment as the contrasts of the record are brought into greater focus. This is State Faults at their most beautiful musically and powerful vocally. It is a track of epic proportions. ‘Skeletons’ offers a powerful and highly memorable sign-off to the album and as you mull over ‘Desolate Peaks,’ you feel compelled to listen to it again.
‘Desolate Peaks’ is an apt title for this album. It is an album of sobriety and isolation, one which has genuinely fantastic high points. It is an intriguing album of vast contrasts and one that is well worth listening to. I certainly enjoyed the unique sound of State Faults. An album of frantic nervous energy and melodic beauty.
‘Desolate Peaks’ by State Faults is available now on Tiny Engines.
Words by Tom White