Clairvoyant, State Faults’s 2019 full-length album, was a raging screamo odyssey that won a lot of new fans for the scrappy Santa Rosa band. From the psychedelic hum of its opening, to its final manic blast beat, Clairvoyant found the three-piece staging countless alchemical fusions that brought mature and interesting textures to a genre commonly associated with angry, young white men from the suburbs.
Along with screamo’s more standard fare (punk drums and emo chops, At the Drive In-isms and half-time breakdowns), Clairvoyant managed to incorporate elements of raga, psychedelia, and black metal — running them all through a murky occult filter that pushed the genre’s cinematic angst into new, hazily spiritual dimensions.
The band has now returned with a new EP. Originally intended as a tour-only 7”, Moon Sign Gemini (now streaming on Soundcloud) takes two of the most blistering tracks from last year’s release — the anxiety-inducing “Moon Sign Gemini” and “Funeral Teeth” — and packages them with two tonally-similar leftover tracks from the sessions for 2013’s Resonate/Desperate. Divided this way, the brief space between side A and side B belies the deep creative chasm the band crossed between 2013 and now.
Put bluntly, on “Despera,” the EP’s first previously-unreleased track, State Faults sound young. Singer and guitarist Jonny Andrew’s screams are as brutal as ever, but compared to the boundary-banding creative energy of Clairvoyent, “Despera” is very much a product of its genre. The band sounds solidly planted in the soil of 2000s screamo (think a more visceral Thursday, or Senses Fail). Posted up alongside the shrieking beast that is last year’s “Funeral Teeth,” “Despera” comes off a little tame, its wandering guitar line searching for a place to land. “Dead Teeth” however, the EP’s feral closing track, comes out swinging, an inchoate blend of genres and noise that foreshadows some of the more wide-ranging directions the band would soon head in.
Taken as a whole, Moon Sign Gemini is both a document of a band in transition, and a solid between-album stopgap. Newcomers would be much better off starting with the more realized Clairvoyant, but this would-be tour EP is still a worthy addition to any skramz fan’s record collection — no matter what sign their moon is in.
Listen to the EP in its entirety at Brooklyn Vegan.