Division St.

Standing on Ceremony

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Division Street's 1995 effort Standing on Ceremony has a habit of hitting the listener in all the right places. It's pleasing instrumentally, and at times experimental with different combinations of keyboards and drums. On vocals, Issac Hasson invites in someone ready for a good love song, but at the same time, someone that knows full well the struggles of everyday life. While the record offers just nine songs, each of those tracks is long and involved. None of the songs play for less than four minutes, and two span over five minutes. Some bands can't hold the attention of their audience for that long with one melody, and must switch over to new songs quickly. But Division Street instead tells a story, with their music and their lyrics. Piano and keyboard man Jeffrey Scott Bluestein and Hasson have penned memorable phrases in their songs, such as "don't hold onto the battles you have lost," and "take me to the place where I can wash away this world we've made." Among others, these lyrical lines show that the group isn't a band in the sense that we view musicians on most occasions -- glamorous, rich, and powerful. Instead, Division Street shows with this record that they are a group of artists, playing on the streets, signing about what makes them happy and what makes them cry. Every song can be considered a standout track, because each delves into the depths of unique sounds and messages. Singeling out specific songs doesn't do justice to the completeness of the record, but those looking to get to the band's best stuff should definitely sample the optimistic and toe tapping inducing song "Maybe Next Year." Another highlight is the record's somber finale, "Fade to Blue," in which Hasson ventures to vocal experimentation not yet heard on the record, something that shows promise for Division Street's future efforts in the Boston music scene. Overall, however, the record's best track is the first, "Live for You." It's a wild, upbeat song, and a great way to open an album because it gets the listener excited, perhaps touch an emotional spark, and ready them for the musically pleasing ride that ensues.

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