For Fans Of
What happens when you put Dance Gavin Dance’s Will Swan, A Lot Like Birds drummer Joe Arrington & bassist Michael Franzino, Hail the Sun’s vocalist Donovan Melero, and Stolas guitarist Sergio Medina all together in a room? You get Sianvar, a psychedelic, post-hardcore rock act that really is just the sum of its member’s other bands. No seriously, if you have ever listened to A Lot Like Birds, Dance Gavin Dance, Hail The Sun, or Stolas, then you have already heard what this new project has to offer musically.
Sure, Sianvar’s debut album ‘Stay Lost’, which follows on from their self-titled 2014 EP, is a decent, satisfying record and it’s far from being a bad release. However, ‘Stay Lost‘ is just way too similar to the recent releases of Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, and Hail The Sun respectively that one must really wonder if these five guys even have a different sound and artistic mindset within their musical bones? Well, in any case, as I said before, this ten track release is a solid listen, all up.
It weaves intricate guitar layers, soaring vocal lines, and groovy but sporadic drum work to an effective manner. Now, considering the pedigree behind this band, I would expect nothing less from the instrumentation and songwriting and it’s all solid stuff. Yet it’s actually the guitars that are the real attention grabbers here. The clean, melodic noodling and layers of bright leads and distorted rhymic riffs all gel together so well. If you’re looking for some prime examples, I’d say the title track, ‘1100 Days‘ and the bright leads of ‘Coordinate Love‘ should give all of the guitarists out there plenty to froth over. The quintet also executes a wonderful mix of light and heavy elements across the record and it has such a clean, crisp mix that each and every instrument – vocals included – has immense breathing room to soar and stand tall upon. Usually, all of this would tick the boxes of ‘Stay Lost‘ being a truly terrific record. Which would be the case if it all hadn’t been done before and to a far better extent by the very musicians who created said record!
Good god, I feel like I’m just going in circles talking about this record, so let’s just talk about some fucking songs.
Thankfully, there aren’t really any duds to be found here, even if the songs do get repetitive a little too soon. Gun to my head I would say that ‘Psychosis Succumbing‘, the tense but groovy ‘BedRoots‘, and the chirpy ‘Coordinate Love‘ are easily the best examples of the band’s sound, even if they are all insanely derivative. Wait, can you be derivative of your own previous work? Yes, you most certainly can as Sianvar proves with this debut record. If the intention here was to simply write yet another DGD, ALLB, HTS or Stolas record, then mission accomplished guys.
Look, I know that I keep harping on and on about comparing this group to the member’s other bands, but sweet shitting Christ, this was the perfect opportunity for them branch out, to really get out there and sadly they’ve just stayed well within their comfort zone; afraid or at least unwilling to step out into the unknown. Maybe they will experiment on their next release, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
In all honesty, you would be much better served listening to Dance Gavin Dance’s ‘Mothership’, their previous outing ‘Instant Gratification‘, or A Lot Like Birds stunning 2013 record, ‘No Place‘. I mean, shit, Hail The Sun’s ‘Culture Scars’ and ‘Allomaternal‘ by Stolas will do you just fine as well! In fact, I’ve just listed five far better records for you to listen to than ‘Stay Lost‘, all of which are not only stylistically similar but are even more satisfying to boot.
I find ‘Stay Lost’ to be an odd one, not so much musically, but as in regards to it its own existence. When I think about well-known band members breaking off into other projects, they tend to be a far cry from their usual work, which leads to some amazing results. Look at Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan now working on The Black Queen, or Tom Williams of Stray From The Path now playing in Trade Wind. Those are just two examples of artists stepping out of their comfort zone and making something vastly different but also something interesting and just as good as their main work. So while Sianvar’s music is solid and musically interesting, it’s just nowhere near different enough from each member’s other bands, all of whom are all still active by the way, that it just feels like wasted potential, sadly.
Also, there was no cringe-inducing rapping courtesy of Will Swan, so the album does earn bonus points for that.
- Stay Lost
- Psychosis Succumbing
- Foxholes and Deities
- Coordinate Love
- 1100 Days
- Don’t Carry This
- Stay Scared
‘Stay Lost’ is out now.