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The Pagan States
The Pagan States
by Katie Sauro

The Pagan States are an interesting bunch. Comprised of a revolving cast of characters better known as Pagan "states," Pagan "cities," and Pagan "towns," this entire Pagan nation paints a simplistic, ethereal dream-world of haunting symphonic melodies and mellow harmonization, with a bit of drowsy psychedelia and some decelerated Black Rebel Motorcycle Club guitars thrown in. Despite a few quicker-paced numbers, including a protest cry of sorts called "Resisterville," the gradual progressions and sluggish rhythms so prominent on this eponymous album recall both Joy Division and Mazzy Star. Lyrically, vocalist Randal Prater has fashioned some impressive gems, especially disillusioned heart-breakers like "Million Shades of Curious," but unfortunately, his brooding drone doesn't quite grasp the edginess of, say, Ian Curtis - an absolute necessity in making these songs noticeable. The result bears an impenetrably dense, lingering fog quite capable of evoking starry-eyed romanticism, but equally likely to sound tiresome and flat.