We Were the States

Saturday

SXSW Records

We Were the States

Rasa (Chicken Ranch)

Despite floods that left their Nashville recording studio under two feet of water last summer, We Were the States persevered to deliver an imperfect but intriguing follow-up to their auspicious 2008 debut, Believe the Thieves. Standouts on Rasa are songs where the Murfreesboro, Tenn., quintet doubles down on hook-laden modern rock with just enough quick right turns to keep it interesting. Case in point, "Gold" is a tweaked-out, stagger-stepping pop force that makes liking someone more than God and cocaine sound like a state of grace. "Daft Since 77" is a high-volume colossus looking for a coliseum. Flashes of glam and hard rock reminiscent of latter-day Sweet bolster Justin Webb's dramatic vocal growl. After coming unhinged one last time with "Don't Ask Why," the album loses steam due to a surfeit of overcontemplative, underdeveloped songs that run too long. Sometimes it's best to say more with less. (Sat., 10:20pm, Headhunters)

**.5

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