Music has always been a popular outlet for a generation to express its outrage. Be it Bob Dylan or Bob Marley crooning a plea for peace or Peter, Paul and Mary singing for social change, musicians have expressed their political and social beliefs in song. State Radio is that voice for this generation and Us Against The Crown follows through and gives everything the name implies it will. . . protest music; and what would these times be without songs of rebellion against current social conditions, the hostile state of many nations, and the war in Iraq?
Two years ago, vocalist and guitar player Chad Stokes wanted to create a band that not only had a unique style but an inspiring message. Add Chuck Fay and Brian Sayers, and what you get is State Radio. Their music mixes progressive politics with a combination of rock, punk and reggae.
Of the three influences, reggae is definitely the most prevalent. Drum heavy, with an unmistakable beat, it seems a little odd at first, or maybe I’m just used to my protest songs coming in the form of typical seventies fare. With a few repeat listens however, it really grew on me. And while the songs have a clear message, they stop short of being preachy. Chad Stokes commented on the philosophy of the music,
We write what we feel, and often, I won’t deal with songs that are too self-serving. I don’t think my stance is any more important than the next guy’s, but I do feel that, with State Radio, we have an opportunity to create some awareness and get some change in this country. We need it in a big way.
One such song is “Camilo.” The song stands out, and was born during the 2004 elections when Stokes became aware of conscientious objector Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia. The Florida National Guard member was imprisoned for refusing to return to Iraq. The song is in support of a soldier’s right to not fight in a war he doesn’t believe in. Even though Mejia was released in 2005, the song is on Us Against the Crown[ADBLOCKHERE]
State Radio addresses political and social issues other then the war on the CD. “Mr. Larkin” and “Right Me Up” address the struggles of the elderly and disabled, while “Riddle in Londontown,” “The Waitress,” and “Rushian” sing about the plights of the lower class.
Musically, “Mr. Larkin” is the one song on the CD that comes closest to mainstream rock. The chorus is a catchy hook that will work its way into your sub-conscious and you’ll find yourself singing its important message of caring for the elderly and the sacrifices we make for those we love.
“The Diner Song” has a light and fun feel, heavy with the reggae beats, even though the lyrical message is heavy and as important as the rest of the songs on the CD. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the two don’t fit together. In fact, I think it is a clever way of putting more emphasis on the message; hidden in a “warm and fuzzy”, it has all the more impact when the significance hits home.
Expressing frustration with the social and political climate through music is nothing new, but State Radio does it with a new and modern flavor, and in a way that I enjoyed. Visit the band’s website for tour dates, lyrics, and multi-media files.
- People To People
- Mr. Larkin
- Right Me Up
- Black Cab Motorcade
- Riddle In Londontown
- Man In The Hall
- The Diner Song
- Gunship Politico
- Calvado’s Chopper