Album: White Noise Bed
Release Date: May 6, 2010
White Noise Bed is a remarkably good album for a band makin’ its full-length debut. And the best part is I can’t make out half the things Stan McConnell is crooning about.
Even though I’m usually a lyrics junkie (or words whore — whichever you prefer, really) it doesn’t matter here. Santah’s rock-pop is solid, and that’s all I care about.
McConnell, actually, has such a rich sound about him. I think his vocals are some of the best I’ve heard in a while. They’re distinctive, a bit scratchy. I wanna say they’re like cream soda, but I don’t know that that satisfies.
Anyway, when I stopped caring about blundering pieces of his poetry or just being generally confused by his crypticism (it’s a word), that’s when I was overcome with the feeling that told me these dudes (and a gal) are totally great at what they do.
Yet I think I may have somewhat of a handle on “Dragonfly Papers,” which is either my favorite or second favorite track on the album.
Scan over these:
It’s happening now with far fewer tears
Than I could have dreamed in all these years
You’ll ride that balloon
Your way home
Over impending doom
Read it in the papers
They’ll show it, they’ll show you
Just another take on the moment
The moment you flew away
Related to, I think, much of the album, “Dragonfly Papers” is a break up. And the woman’s method of escape? A balloon. A balloon that’ll have her among the fluffy clouds and the blue skies and — of course — the solitude in no time.
There’s probably a reason McConnell has her flying away in a big ol’ balloon. That way, she’s away from it all and with only herself.
I like, too, the line about newspapers and how the piece about the supposed great balloon event would only be “another take on the moment.” No matter your position on what “Dragonfly Papers” is actually about, I think the critique on journalism and how it alters our memory of things (or, oftentimes, gives us a memory of things) is an interesting one.
Next to “Dragonfly Papers,” I really like the sound on “Neighbors & Cousins (Are We Lovers),” which reminds me of Bob Seger’s “Night Moves.” The piano kicks in and I half expect a *Night moves!* to kick in from the backups. Alas, it isn’t that song.
Another relationship song, “Neighbors & Cousins,” I think, is a song that strives (but fails) to draw the line on what McConnell and some other are and, well, aren’t.
Are we ill-fated, star-crossed wonders?
Are we old neighbors?
Chain of violence
Are we lovers dressed in violence?
Yeah, I don’t know
I like most everything on here, though “Chips of Paint” is another standout. There’s an accessibility about it that I think most everyone can appreciate. The electric guitar work on it is good, as are — again — McConnell’s vocals. Only this time he draws out a ton of words and verges on wailing at times. A link to a live “Chips” performance is below.
Anyway, White Noise Bed is a stellar debut for this Champaign band. Hit up their Bandcamp page for free streams!
- Santah is based in Champaign, IL.
- Their album, White Noise Bed, can be streamed for free on the group’s Bandcamp page. It can also be bought for $10.
- Santah will rock Schubas on September 21 with Shonen Knife (Japan!) and Aleks and the Drummer (Chicago). Tickets are $14.
Santah performing “Chips of Paint” at Chrome Attic Studios