Progressive rock 3 piece STARING INTO NOTHING immediately recall another band of the same ilk. I’m in no Rush to tell you who I’m referring to, I have a review to do after all. The first single from Power “Big Brother” ebbs and flows not unlike something from another progressive rock album called Power Windows. This is not to say STARING INTO NOTHING is merely aping Rush, they seem to bring enough of their own inventive style to the mix to transcend mimicry.
Power is expertly produced and mixed by Californian Mark Needham. Needham has worked with Circa Survive, O.A.R, Fleetwood Mac, and Red House Painters. Now how is that for eclectic? One aside, Needham mixed “Mr. Brightside”
by the Killers in 40 minutes. As a reference mix. Which ended up being an unfathomable hit. Needless to say, Power sounds pristine.
The album kicks off with the uplifting “Puritans.” Sparkling piano and engrossing chanting vocals envelop the listener. The track concludes with swirling wah guitar flourishes and an engaging stomping rhythm. Staring into Nothing mastermind Steve Rogers clearly has done his homework. His vocals seem to be a clever mix of Geddy Lee, The Final Cut era Roger Waters, and even a hint of A Momentary Lapse of Reason era David Gilmour.
Track 3 and album centerpiece Obey seems to solidify Staring into Nothing’s message of government corruption, societal brainwashing, and the oppression of the population. Roger’s urging of “always doing what I’m told” is sure to resonate with fans of progressive rock.
“Heads or Tails” is initiated by a rise of keyboards and a dizzying drum fill. Vocalist/guitarist Savannah Rogers takes the lead on this powerful track. The Roger’s team displays some deft songwriting and Needham’s treatment of multi layered background vocals and a giant chorus really work.
Session ace Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam, Tori Amos, Soundgarden) does an admirable job on the drums on Power. Track 6 “Information Crime” is well supported by his tasteful rhythms and Steve Roger’s channels a bit of Stratocaster gold ala David Gilmour among the songs changing dynamics and well executed playing. The artwork for Power is quite appropriate with each song having its own image to help convey the message. Below is the imagery associated with “Information Crime.”
Previously mentioned first single “Big Brother” serves as a mission statement for the band. All the hallmarks of their sound are present: epic piano parts, disdain for the government, and one’s place in today’s fractured world. Roger’s emotive vocals exclaiming “The road to hell is paved with good intent” is sure to stir the listener. The chorus of “Big Brother” is grandiose and sweeping in scope. I had the introductory piano motif in my head long after the song concluded.
Album closer “The Gates of Hell” is not unlike a melding of Queen and Depeche Mode. It’s a fitting closer for an epic collection of songs. Though Staring into Nothing wear their influences on their collective sleeve, there is more than enough of their own approach to allow this recording to stand on its own great feet.
Release Date: Big Brother single – August 4, 2017
Favorite Tracks: “Obey”, “Big Brother”, “Heads or Tails” and “Organic Nucleation”
For Fans Of: Rush, Porcupine Tree, later era Pink Floyd, and Dream Theatre.