For years, this Oakland, Calif., quartet, led by Ted Nesseth, has been offering up a mix of melodic indie rock and hushed alt-folk rooted in Nesseth’s percipient lyrics. But for all intents and purposes, the band’s third release should serve as their coming out party.
Delayer blew away the newsroom last week. Starting with a block of throwback garage rockers—“Lost in the Light” sounds like vintage Stones fronted by Warren Zevon—and seamlessly shifting to a series of lilting ballads, the album presents one of those rare start-to-finish listening experiences. And since the cascade occurs in gradual intervals—“Lost in the Light” leads into a poppy, Marah-like “Make Up,” which leads into the gentle acoustic musings of “Sun Chase Moon”—there’s always the sense that The Heavenly States know exactly how to navigate their contrasting sounds. Even the surprises, like the unexpected honky-tonk rant of “Never Be Alright” and the New Pornographers-esque closer, “The Race,” nestle comfortably into this cherished collection. (Skylar Browning)
The Heavenly States play the Badlander Saturday, May 24, at 9 PM. Good Neighbor Policy and Wolf Redboy open. $6.