It’s fitting that this Belfast two-piece’s songs were featured in All-American TV shows like Ugly Betty and Gossip Girl, as their music is loud, brash and accessible, like most US sitcoms. That’s not insolence on State’s part, rather admiration on how Rocky O’ Reilly and Shaun Robinson seem to so easily produce one pop gem after another.
This 30-minute album is crammed with so many layers of instruments and bombast that it’s clear the title was the blueprint for the arrangements. From short opener ‘Major Television Events’, it’s obvious that the plan is to accompany Oppenheimer’s synth-pop sound with fuzzy guitar, without falling off the sprightly poptastic tightrope. They sound giddy and convinced that a drop in tempo will lose the listener’s attention, so the album is always reaching for those melodic highs, swathing in celestial synthesizers, saccharine vocals and anthemic choruses.
Single ‘Look Up’ is infused with glockenspiel chimes and crystal clear drumming, while the title track is a string-led number with turbo-charged bits. The vocoder comes out on ‘Stephen McCauley For President’ and ‘I Don’t Care What Anyone Says of You, I Think You’re Alright’. Lyrically, there are a lot of American-centric references (a result of duo spending a lot of time there) and occasionally, the harmonies are a little too sickly sweet. It matters little when each song is such a powderkeg of pop energy bursting into ephemeral flames.