On Late Season, the first multiple-song release since their 2013 re-formation, The Static Dynamic writes and performs conservatively, crafting a slick, but often detached, tone. The release, produced by guitarist/programmer Steph Curran and 37’ Productions founder Sean McLaughlin, highlights the quartet’s strengths — specifically, Collins’ powerful vocals and the band’s instrumental cohesion — but fails to go much further.

Singer and keyboardist Jess Collins’ voice confidently soars throughout the release and drummer Kyle Burket’s fill-focused rhythms propel the album’s most invigorating sections. Unfortunately, these patches of musical and lyrical excellence drag along minutes and minutes of unexciting, drawn-out progressions.

The Static Dynamic remains stuck between opposing approaches. Collins’ clear voice, when combined with the sleek production of Curran’s guitar parts, deposits a sheen over the tracks that detracts from the visceral power they might otherwise achieve. Especially on “Sunrise,” the second of three tracks, the song structures seem stuck in limbo. The pulsing electronic drums and ominous, atmospheric guitar lines push towards a massive climax. Even when the track moves into a heavier, distorted section it still seems subdued and unexciting.

Describing themselves as post-rock, the band eschews delineated verses and choruses, turning “Sunrise,” “Magnetic Tides,” and “Blue Sky,” into extended vamps. Although drawn-out structures give The Static Dynamic an expansive atmosphere to work in, they are rarely able to draw hooks out of their walls of sound. Perhaps to the clarity of the album’s production, the songs critically lack edge, allowing the band to carefully control and deliver every song to a fault. The listener never hears the group descend into rawness or transcend into ecstasy.

Consequently, Late Season stacks up as a well-produced, acceptable EP, but an unexciting release. It is not, however, completely without strong points. Although they border on cliché at times (“I will wipe away your tears/If you take away all my fears”), Collins’ lyrics often sound vulnerable and fixed on arresting details. After the full band enters in “Magnetic Tides,” Collins describes watching a loved one walk away “as I separate our possessions.” Additionally, Curran, Burkert, and bassist Mark Avery form a focused instrumental crew that maintains a tight formation while allowing each musician room for creativity. Burkert’s drumming especially lends angst and defiance to the tracks as he constantly cycles through his tom-toms and cymbals rather than serving as an understated beat keeper. As many emo and post-rock groups heads towards more rhythmic complexity — notably in the form of bass and guitar lines that play off of rather than with each other — The Static Dynamic continues to craft songs that seemingly regulate most of the members to support roles for Collins.

At the end of “Blue Sky,” the release’s third and final track, the quartet pushes further, driving each member’s part to an intense apex. Curran and Avery lock in as the band cycles through the same riff, delivering a performance that provides much of the raw power that much of the album lacks. When Avery, Burkert, and Curran cut out, Collins’ ascending piano riff remains, starkly alone, a defiant reminder of the track’s melodic heart. Such moments are strangely rare on a three-song EP that clocks in at fewer than 12 minutes, but if The Static Dynamic can channel their most raw and emotional elements, their next release may prove more forceful.

Album Review: The Static Dynamic - Late Season
Pros
  • Beautiful, powerful vocals
  • Excellent production across the board
  • Tight rhythm section
Cons
  • Mostly forgettable lyrics and melodies
  • Wandering, unfocused songwriting
  • Stays inside the band’s comfort zone
5.5Overall Score

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.