State Radio : Year of the Crow

state_radio_year_of_crow.jpgIt would be impossible to erase the feel-good vibe perpetuated by Dispatch, the grass-roots funk and reggae band that had a critically acclaimed run in the mid- to late-‘90s, broke up in 2004, then reformed to sell out three nights at Madison Square Garden in July 2007. But former member Chad Stokes and his band State Radio have gotten close on their second studio release, Year of the Crow.

Like Dispatch, reggae and funk form the crux of State Radio’s sound, and sure, it does sound good mixed in with a rebellious punk streak. But the politico-activist nuances that bubbled beneath the surface of Dispatch’s catalogue have now reached an intense boil on the frenetic “Guantanamo,” subversive “Gang of Thieves,” and apocalyptic “Fall of the American Empire.”

Year of the Crow  is ripped from the editorial page of the most liberal American newspaper, set to infectious rhythms. And even though many Americans are filled with similar objections to the troubles facing the country, the amplitude of State Radio’s agenda snuffs out even the strongest flames of escape and enjoyment greatly needed from music in today’s damaged world.

Year of the Crow is out now on Ruff Shod Records.