Wrapped up in the synchronicity of sound with this latest release by Cicadastone, you are taken on an emotive journey that leads you in echoic thought on how we see ourselves reflected in life and ponders whether we should live under a guise or show our true selves to the World. The intensity and depth of the tracks draws focus towards self belief and not letting yourself buckle under the weight of existence, calling for you instead to embrace your incandescence and take faith in its righteousness.
Melbourne based Alternative Rock band Cicadastone was formed in 2013 by brothers/guitarists Mat and Mark Robins, with the release of their first album, 'Chance Collide', being in 2016. They write all their own songs and sonically this album made a bold statement, and took them to good standing musically on an International level with songs like 'Drown My Hopes', 'Forgotten Fears', 'Oh Satellite' and 'Headlights On', showcasing their song writing maturity and diversity.
Evolving from that time, the band now present a different line-up, with Tommy Sunset on bass and Jarrod Medwin on drums, with the Robins brothers sharing their harmoniously intertwined vocals. With one year in production of the new album at Mat's recording studio in Victoria, they then signed with Golden Robot Records in 2019, and submitted to the label ready for the 'Cold Chamber' release later that year, not realising that life was going to be put on hold with the Worldwide pandemic.
This album feeds the Rock Grunge appetite by using a similar recipe to Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, and we see here the band's discovery and deliverance of a unique well adjusted set within a melodically driven dark soundscape. The actual release date of this album was moved to Friday 19th March this year, and Mat feels that this latest release is darker than the first and is a "good next chapter" for the band; using their time progressively during the Covid delay, they also already have a stack of material primed for their next release! Indeed, Australian fans will get to see Cicadastone live with album launches in both Melbourne and Sydney.
'Red Eye Raven' is the opening track, and questions how we feel that we are viewed by the World, and how much we should let that bother us. Do we really want to change ourselves to be more acceptable in a World that we don't believe in, are we strong enough to feel worthy as we are? Will we compromise to have an easy life by accepting life's judgements and pressures without standing up to them?
Three hot singles from the new album released during the past year are 'Box of Anger', 'Dying in Sunshine' and 'Out of Sight', this being one of Jarrod's favourites. Successfully whetting fans appetites, the more recently released fourth single 'Slave in a Cage' laments on how we live our lives in this, today's controlled society. The song makes us realise how we are brainwashed to learn to obey societies' orders and reminds us that we are all invariably governed, being trapped within and not protesting against this.
'Box of Anger' tells of how society is controlled and influenced by what we see on our televisions, then questions how we know that what we are being fed with by the media is the truth. It questions corporate greed and its corruption to our planet, how we are controlled for reaction or response, making us aware of the subtlety to societies’ interpretations of what we can or cannot do. This track is very succinct and to the point musically, reflecting the anguish of the song lyrics and is bass player Tommy Sunset's favourite to play.
'Dying in Sunshine' is described by Mat Robins as being “a song about false standards and the pressure that modern society depicts”. Many would not be able to envisage a World without social media at our finger tips, with the Worldwide society now seeing us live with the curtains wide open, exposing us to blind criticism from near and far. “It’s pain from within disguised to look fine, just to be socially accepted. Dying in Sunshine is all around us, just take a closer look,” says Robins.
'Out of Sight' is an introspective song about self-discovery and belief. It tells of how it is gallant to admit our faults to ourself, to recognise and accept these and sit comfortably with those that we don't want to change. 'Incandescent' is all about finding that inner strength and confidence deep within yourself with 'Burden That You Wear' telling of our choice to either take a hold of life and move on, or be weighted down carrying troubles forwards with us which could just have been left behind.
'Call It What You Will' is about isolation, reminding us that once the moment has passed then nothing can be done to change it. We can not turn back time to change it, we must just accept it as life has happened and move on. A musically meshed track with beautiful harmonies. The title track holds a beckoning beat with the twists and turns in the tune reflecting the physiological message it brings about accepting your faults, changing a habit, breaking connections and having the strength to stand tall and grow. 'Dime a Dozen' has powerful guitar throughout and tells of suppression lamenting with an engaging rhythm and lyrically contemplating, on the fight for individuality and for not being controlled, held back from our aspirations and needs.
'X-Rays Of Our Minds' starts reflectively, then picks up to a stirring tempo before harmonising back down leaving you to analyse your response to life and making you aware of how you may have been inadvertently distracted in this. 'Slow Motion' begins with a refreshing upbeat guitar solo, before concentrating on the feeling of heartbreak and is so weighted down with sombreness that you are thankful for the solid snare drum punch that echoes throughout and brings it to an end. 'Down River' I found to be yet another depressive song once more focussing on death, but discovered that on listening to it alone and not as a continuation of the previous tracks it adopted a fresh and vibrant impact with a clean, heavy beat. I enjoyed the impactive closing of this song with the tick tock Pink Floyd fading out that the first track on the album, 'Red Eye Raven', led in with.
All of the tracks on this album tell of the fickle heartache of modern society with lyrics penned about fear and loneliness and how we can best deal with this, taking it with no fear in our stride; can we not influence our lives, our paths, our destinies? All experiences can be learnt from and time can heal, and Cicadastone bring us lyrics and beliefs about accepting who we are, with 'Cold Chamber', urging us to face our fears, admit our wrongs, to accept and grow through these.
Being complex in detail and delivery, the tracks on this album are arranged and presented simplistically, flowing in their own unique haunting way, whilst showing power in their execution. Unfortunately the lyrics were indistinguishable on a number of the tracks, which lessens the listening experience of this, to appreciate a song fully, an understanding of the story and not just its execution, is an important factor.