Expectations can hurt. I was excited when Tooth and Nail signed States and re-released the band’s fantastic new wave/indie rock hit machine, Room to Run. But T&N went independent and I guess States wasn’t a part of their future. Still, Room to Run was a fantastic album and I was excited for Paradigm.
Honestly, I was disappointed my first listen through Paradigm. The heavy dance themes that drove Room to Run don’t find their way on to Paradigm. The new wave themes are darker and don’t have the same warmth as Room to Run. The pop sensibilities move out of the “mainstream” and into the indie realm. And the more I listened to Paradigm, the more I enjoyed it.
Paradigm feels like it could’ve been an instant indie hit in the early 2000’s. Rock and roll that’s influence by the Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds. Laid back indie pop with strong melodies and Mindy White’s gorgeous voice make Paradigm the perfect record for any music fan.
The ambient pad that opens up Circles, accompanied by White’s vocals create a beautifully simple opening to the record. It’s more laid back and haunting than anything from Room to Run. I Hope You Stay kicks things up a level, bringing a solid rock and roll back beat. It’s clear from the first two tracks that there’s an edge and rawness to Paradigm that Room to Run was too polished to have. Fever is Strokes…ish in it’s New York attitude. But the song has some great moments of experimentation and pop fun. Running Away is as close as States gets to replicating some of the new wave dance sensibilities from Room to Run.
Fans of Denali and Blondie will still love Paradigm and States fans shouldn’t fret, because the band is still great. Paradigm just feels more like Rilo Kiley than Blondie. Once the initial shock of not hearing what I was expecting wore off, I was pleasantly surprised and in love with States musical direction. Another great record from one of my new favorite bands.