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Monday, May 26, 2014

War Poets - American Police State

American Police State: 8:05 On a Saturday Night

War Poets - American Police State
2014, War Poets

Minneapolis-based War Poets is comprised of bassist/vocalist Jenny Case and vocalist/guitarist Rex Habeman, but the band is more than it appears.  Born of the songwriting of some of the best musicians in the Midwest, War Poets strives to bring a mix of socially conscious songwriting, fun rock and roll and serious ballads in their performances and recordings.  War Poets plans three new recordings to be released during 2014.  The first is American Police State

American Police State opens with "Better Place", a low key song of hope with melancholy undertones.  This leads into the high intensity of "Closing In", which is contained in a powerful rock arrangement with faint hints of an old school R&B back beat. There's a vibrant energy here, driven by an overt sense of societal angst. War Poets chill on "8:05 On a Saturday Night", a stumbling ballad with silk-soaked country guitar and talk/rap vocal style. This is a mess, but an intriguing one that pushes convincingly against traditional genre boundaries.  "Where Love Has Gone" lives according to storytelling style that's monotonous in approach. When War Poets get to the chorus and the subsequent bridge they come alive, but the song has a choppy road getting there. The EP closes with "Red Lake", a middle of the road closer that suffers from a lack of real energy and dynamics.

American Police State has its moments, but the effort is uneven and at times, unconvincing.  There’s an eye for storytelling here, but also a sense that sometimes the intended message overrides the musical decisions that may seem most natural.  War Poets certainly have talent and an admirable social intent, but the elements just don’t seem to jell here.

Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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