Album review: The Great Depression, “In A Starry State”

Jared Hemming

Forget “Interstellar;” if you’re looking for a spaced-out dystopian culture fix, check out “In A Starry State,” by The Great Depression.

 

The Cannon Falls, Minn.-based band aimed for the stars with lush orchestral arrangements and psych-disco madness on their latest release, which came out last week.

With the single “New Salem,” The Great Depression ditch the dust bowl dance aesthetic their name suggests and and go all-out on this frenetic disco tune, complete with lyrics portraying a harsh society that tries to exorcise one of its citizens all because “she used to hit the floor.”

The album’s concept, kind of a “Footloose”-meets-”Star Wars” tale of a totalitarian empire that outlaws dance and expression, is exemplified in the sounds The Great Depression creates on “In A Starry State.” Standout track (in name alone) “Philip K Disco” riffs on the sci-fi great Philip K. Dick’s name to describe the album’s joyless universe as the federation turns violent against the dance-loving rebels.

“Philip K Disco” opens with a Chemical Brothers-esque filtered freakout that coalesces as multi-instrumentalists Todd Casper, Chadwick Nelson, Brent Sigmeth and Thomas Cranley repeat the mantra that “soon everything will be like it was.”

While “In A Starry State” might not warrant multiple listens, The Great Depression’s laborious effort into the album, reminiscent of Sigmeth's engineering time at the local, lengendary Pachyderm Studios (where Nirvana made “In Utero”) shows, as the tracks on tracks flow together in one phantasmagoric space odyssey.

So if you’re looking for a cheaper way to get the universal thrills “Interstellar” is selling, “In A Starry State” is worth a listen.