Via Dove eschewed the traditional album release format for its latest EP -- no vinyl, no tape, not even a CD-R (mercifully). Instead, the band has gone full digital, embracing the ether and releasing its Fugue State through Bandcamp. Record Store Day patrons received free download cards for the EP with any purchase at St. Louis' brick-and-mortar shops, and Via Dove performed at Off Broadway to celebrate the release.
Now the album is available to stream online as well. In Christian Schaeffer's latest Homespun review, he describes the effort as a "return to form" and praises its ambition. From the review:
In reviewing the band's first release, 2008's Twilight, for this column, I heard a mix of amorphous, suggestive shoegaze and more square-shouldered rock. Any traces of softness were obliterated on 2010's El Mundo Latino, a KSHE-fired batch of strident rock & roll. On Fugue State, the original quartet added Mike Tomko (guitar) and Charlie Brumley (piano) to the mix; the expanded line-up flexes its collective muscles best on opener "You & Me Alone," with its twin-guitar riffage and minor math-rock syncopations. The song is a strong opener and shows what the band can do when it hammers out a tune but takes time to add smart, surprising quirks. To wit: Brumley's electric piano arpeggios, along with some synthy oscillations, give a shimmering backdrop to the closing song "So Deep," and coupled with Aaron Vaught's chunky, searching solo, the song stands as the clearest marriage of Via Dove old and new. When the tempo slows down, as on "Borderland," the band still sticks to rock conventions (hard-hitting drums, eight-bar guitar solos), leaving the song somewhere between The Joshua Tree and Slippery When Wet. Shadburne's vocals are strong when backed by swift musicianship but falter somewhat in the upper register here, though his expressiveness shows an intuitive link to the core of each song on this EP. Fugue State is further proof that Via Dove is a good rock band, and that's no small thing. Luckily, there are enough flashes here to suggest that it can be a restless, challenging rock band as well.
Listen to the full EP, courtesy of Via Dove's Bandcamp page, below:
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