Static of the Gods – Cycles Follow Signs

Static of the Gods
Cycles Follow Signs

When I was listening to Static of the Gods’ Cycles Follow Signs, I imagined some hard-working and musically talented folks in a clean, well run studio. There, they took pains to craft the sound song-by-song, paying attention to all the details. This radio-ready record sounds quite polished. And I think that’s the main reason why I didn’t quite connect with it. I have nothing against well recorded, well produced records as long as the clinicians don’t too completely etherize the patient.

The first three songs – “2.33,” “Cycles Follow Signs,” and “City Is Closed” – probably could’ve been smash alternative hits in the early 90s. They’re hooky and occasionally arch, with memorable choruses and a punchy kind of non-threatening energy. All the players hit their marks just right, on this and the other tracks. Having a female lead singer, Static of the Gods might’ve been lumped in with That Dog, Eve’s Plum, and the Muffs, charting some college-radio numbers and scoring some good press about the burgeoning role of women in indie-pop rock. “City Is Closed” has power chords and a bouncy bassline that tracks the drums tightly. Actually, there are many barre chords going on here. “Cycles Follow Signs” has a little overlaid guitar passage that hits one ear and the other during the choruses, which evinces the band’s attention to detail.

Of the other tracks, there’s the sweet-sounding “The Offering” done in 3/4 time and the bright, upbeat “Eighty-Eights” – the latter another radio-friendly track. Because there are a lot of guitar chords moving somewhat predictably from passage to passage in these songs, the bass gets to lead the way melodically (excepting the vocals) on quite a few of these tunes. The drums fit the music really well but they’re never really used to energize the proceedings, even when you get to the fills. The verses on “User” are cool, surging forward then pulling back a little. Unfortunately, these give way to choruses that sound kind of ordinary. “Swing and Sway” starts in a dark mood and promises some melancholy but, again, the chorus must be bringing things back from a minor to a major key or something because it doesn’t sustain the mood. The vocals on this one reminded me of Siouxsie at times, which was cool. And the drums sounded grand.

I’ve probably been listening to too many sloppy bands recently because Cycles Follow Signs gave me the impression that its precision came at the expense of its human qualities. It could be just me, and it certainly has an indie-pop charm to it. It’s not quite Bomb Pops or Velocity Girl, but Static of the Gods could probably get there. Plus, it’s a pretty cool band name.