Stateless

Matilda

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AllMusic Review by

Sometimes it seems like the music world is divided into roughly two camps: those who celebrate genre distinctions and those who are dedicated to kicking at them until they fall. But there are also those who just blithely go their own way, simply pretending that the distinctions don't exist. Stateless work in that vein, more or less. The band's sophomore debut tempts fate with a nearly 30-second fade-in (you may think you have a defective disc on your hands, but wait for it), then takes off into a crazy welter of power ballad, electro-glitch, dubstep, atonal, acoustic-based, waltz-funk weirdness that occasionally gets tiring but rarely stops being interesting. When it does, it's because a single concept has been driven home a bit too hard for a little too long: "Ballad of NGB," "Song for the Outsider," and "Junior" all do somewhat similar things with related mixtures of strings, thudding beats embroidered with clicky and glitchy percussion sounds, and soulful vocals that are sometimes crooned and sometimes only half-sung. The sound of distant cannon fire on "Ballad of NGB" is pretty nifty, but those three songs should probably have been separated from each other on the track list. Everything else, though, is pretty intensely great, from the township jive guitars on "Ariel" to the blend of synthesized guitars, Bahia drumbeats, and atonal squalls on "Visions." By the way, the strings you hear off and on throughout the album are the Balanescu Quartet; nice one, Stateless.

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