Seasonal (with a lower-case “s”) is an ambient/emo band from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You know, that place with all the Amish people and horrible roads. The group consists of Josh Sperow (guitar), Ethan McDonnell (guitar/vocals), John Halfpenny (bass), and Nick Lowry (drums).
Where do I start with this amazing tune? I was at a loss for words when I first heard it. I’ve always thought these guys were such talented musicians; they were some of my best friends during my college years in Pennsylvania. So I guess you could say I’m a tad biased. At the same time when I step back and take a critical listen to “State Lines” from an outside musician’s perspective, I still hear nothing but pure beauty and passion radiating from my speakers for 3 minutes straight.
The best part about this song: it makes you feel like you just went through a break up, and all of the stages of grieving are swirling around in your head. Does that make sense? I mean, I understand grieving isn’t fun but it’s the fact that the song makes you feel like you’re alive and that, for the first time, you can truly understand the repetitions of your heartbeats. The swell and delay of Sperow and McDonnell’s guitars, the calm yet abrasive songbird-like vocals, Halfpenny’s perfectly round bass tone, and Lowry’s strategically calculated and dynamic drum patterns make this song what it is: just plain lovely and entertaining. The lyrics remind one of modern romanticism, where the subject would reminisce about their long-lost love or friendship. It’s breathtaking, especially since he doesn’t sound like a whining child (which seemed to be a popular vocal style among emo bands in the early to mid 2000s). Lastly, I enjoyed how the piece strayed from the traditional style of song-writing. It’s not just verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, ending, it’s an amalgamation of styles formed to follow more of a story line that builds to a climax and finally finds it’s resolution.
This is my straight, honest opinion. They asked me to be critical, and I seriously sat at my computer for 30 minutes debating with myself about what the song was lacking or even a critique on how they could improve, but to no avail. The recording is perfect, the structure is on point. Maybe they could each grow a few inches or do better finger exercises to loosen themselves up before shows?That’s all I’ve got.
Make sure to check out seasonal’s Facebook page for show updates as well as to listen to the May 28th release of their debut EP, “The World We Chose To See.” For now, go listen to the single “State Lines” (for fans of You Blew It, Explosions In The Sky, Death Cab For Cutie, Dikembe, Moving Mountains, etc.). Enjoy.