Fingertips Explores the Archives: Lying in States - Fall or Stumble
Jeremy from Fingertips joins us every Friday as he scours the betterPropaganda archives, highlighting gems buried a few years back in our database.
This week we bring you "Fall or Stumble" from Lying in States.
Simultaneously thumpy and smooth, discordant and musical, "Fall or Stumble" is a shot of intense 21st-century rock'n'roll--complicated, smart, edgy, and well-produced. I knew I was in good hands from the start, when the big-beated groove established by the drums was joined first by a gentle, subtly off-kilter bit of keyboard vamping and then by a couple of buzzy, offbeat blurts from the electric guitar. Pay attention to the guitar all the way through here--the band has two guitarists, in fact, and they work together to inform the song with a searing buzz underneath and a razor-like brassiness above. Singer/guitarist Ben Clarke's voice sounds electronically compressed--a la Julian Casablancas in the Strokes--but the effect isn't in your face as much because of the gratifying musical texture that exists around him. And while Clarke sings in the same range as Casablancas, I find his ability to sing powerfully both with and without restraint to be more reminiscent of Radiohead's Thom Yorke than anyone else I can think of. Lying in States, a Chicago-based band founded in 1999, were a local live success for years before recording their first full-length CD, Most Every Night, in 2004. That's where you'll find "Fall or Stumble." The band released one more album, in 2006, went out on one last tour, and called it a day that same year.
- Jeremy Schlosberg