BOUNCY AND ALIVE The Bay State. Photo: REMICK PHOTOGRAPHY
Last we left the Bay State, they had turned out the excellent EP Let's Turn This City On, released just over a year ago. In the meantime, they've played the Warped Tour, picked up a booking agent, and worked hard on their live show.
Their new three-song EP, released December 11, indicates they may have fallen in love with the live show while they were at it. Recording at home, at the Halo, and at 32 Central in Bangor, they've crafted a more organic sound (if you can call anything with Auto-Tune organic), whereby if Evan James plays acoustic guitar live instead of viola, that means no viola on "Haunted," the EP's title track. It also means no more of those samples and studio trickery that marked the last EP.
But there's plenty of bouncy acoustic on "Haunted," until singer Tom Tash comes in with bits of chord forms on the electric, finally giving way to Susanne Gerry's bridge as everything falls away but light chords and bells like snowflakes: "I'm haunting you/You know/But I'm haunted, too." Then a chorus of voices finishes with the thoughts of both parties: "Why'd you have to go/and leave me here all alone?"
What a contrast to "Hey Hey Glamour Kills," written for the Glamour Kills clothing line (Bay State are the first unsigned band on their roster), and a straight-up club anthem, as upbeat and intense as anything that's ever come out of Maine. Of course, they Auto-Tuned the crap out of it, to the point where you can't quite tell if it's ironic like those Auto-Tune the News guys or if they're just riding the sound that made the Auto-Tune ultra-popular in the first place, right to the edge and back.
And on "Liars," Gerry actually takes a turn as frontgal, for yet another sound from the band, aggressive as hell and plenty sassy, but with just enough innocence to make the chorus genuinely disappointing (in a good way): "Did we have something/Because I don't think we did."
I thought we had something...
Tash reports the band are already writing for a full-length release, which they hope to record this spring. Expect plenty more surprises.
HAUNTED | Released by the Bay State | with Goodnight Process | Dec 11 | at 103 Ultra Lounge, Orono