State River Widening

And so it is that ingenuity once again routs circumstance....

And so it is that ingenuity once again routs circumstance. The party, though, is a quiet affair.

Recorded in a dank ex-works shed in an insalubrious bit of outer London, the State’s self-titled album magics up lush visions of rickety front porches and endless evenings spent strumming and plucking and tapping forgotten instruments while the crops ripen in the field. There’s a cooing Wurlitzer organ in the corner, a battered drumkit marking the twilight hour, and a bevy of acoustically stringed things.

Or so it seems on ‘Amsterdam Green’, SRW‘s countrified opener. In reality, there’s just three fans of gentle music, with their heads alternately buried in rural Americana or a sound library vault: drummer Jon Steele, and associate soundsmiths Keiron Phelan and David Sheppard – more commonly employed as one of Ellis Island Sound and one of The Wisdom Of Harry.

And round and round they go, trading grooves on ‘Drift Brake’, matching marimba shimmer to melodica toot, and deftly robbing instrumental music of all pretension. The skills on songs like ‘Cable Car’ or ‘Interlaken’ point to post-rockers-in-chief Tortoise. But rest assured, the billy-goated spectre of jazz that haunts their every bass clef is miles away – yet another small victory against the odds.