Cassiopeia is a five-track EP by Montreal-based indie-rock band Future States released on October 11, 2015. Future States consists of lead vocalist Chuck Bronson, guitarist Brodie Conley, Nicolas Hyatt on keyboards, bassist David Lacalamita, and Daniel Gélinas on drums. Cassiopeia is the band’s second EP. The self-titled Future States was released in October, 2014.
“Future States,” according to the band’s Facebook page, “is an experimental collective. It’s music to dance and dream to.” That description is almost identical to my first reaction listening to the EP. The songs are really hypnotic and atmospheric, but at times they also rock quite hard. The unique combination of dreaminess and heaviness gives the listener an unusual, yet enjoyable, sensation of wanting to dance and fall asleep at the same time.
The opening track “Get Some Rest” begins with a funky, hip hop-style break beat, and melodic, quirky keyboard rhythm. The dreamy lyrics that follow set a moody tone for the whole album with lines like, “I think I might crawl back into bed. I think I might try to get some rest, for the rest of my life” that could be interpreted as excessively dark and melancholic. However, I think the lyrics describe that feeling that most of us experience on a cold and shitty winter morning in Quebec, when the snow is falling and the wind is blasting so hard that you just want to turn up the heater and read comics in bed. The line, “I fucking hate it here” sums up the depressingly funny playfulness of the song.
What first interested me about Future States was that these guys sound like they are jamming, and having good time at that. Songs like “Good Luck” have a loose, slightly improvised sound, with heavy, distorted guitars, layered vocal harmonies, and Gélinas’ driving drum-beat. It’s Nicolas Hyatt’s quirky keyboards, however, that give Future States their unique and modern sound.
My pick of the album is “Troubled Minds.” The track opens up with a long, drawn-out guitar rhythm and random background sounds, including people shouting wildly, that are undeniably cinematic. More wintery lyrics such as, “Back to the cold nights, back to the short days” might make you shiver with thoughts of a January cold-snap, but I could also imagine listening to this driving on a lonely prairie road at sunrise.
Normally I’m not excited about reviewing rock albums. It’s not that I don’t like the genre, but some of my fellow Bucketheads are die-hard rock fans and I would rather leave it to the experts. Future States’ sound, with just the right amount of experimental keyboards and poetic lyrics, is unusual enough to get me dancing, or put me to sleep. Either way, it’s all good.
Written by Rob Coles
*edited by Kate Erickson