State Radio cures the post-Dispatch munchies

by Beacon Staff • February 8, 2006

After spending eight years garnering success for Dispatch, Stokes decided to use this chance to express himself fluidly and clearly.,For many Dispatch fans, the end came when the band split in 2003, but for former member Chad Stokes, the concept of "end" is nonexistent.

After spending eight years garnering success for Dispatch, Stokes decided to use this chance to express himself fluidly and clearly.

Stokes immediately enlisted fellow musicians Chuck Fay (formerly of Princes of Babylon) and Brian Sayers for help.

Together, they formed State Radio, a politically charged reggae-rock band.

After touring since the 2004 election and sharing the stage with artists such as O.A.R. and Matisyahuand Ozomatli, State Radio released its debut album Us Against the Crown on Tuesday.

The most notable thing about State Radio is that none of the songs on Us Against the Crown bear any resemblance to Stokes' former material. The new track "Gunship Politico" feels the most like reggae-influenced Dispatch, but the rest is refreshingly different, although Stokes' voice and message still evoke the atmosphere of his previous band.

Despite the reggae-rock sound, the often-feared term "pop" best describes State Radio, since the songs feature glowing grooves and catchy hooks. Proof of Stokes' pop sensibility is most evident on "Man in the Hall," which could easily be mistaken for a Maroon 5 single.

Stokes sounds as if he has risen up from the college coffeehouse circuit and is ready to tour the club scene, which becomes the strength of the album.

The most moving songs on Us Against the Crown are "People to People," "Camilo" and the ghostly "Riddle in Londontown." The latter is the best song on the album for its outright sentimentality that manages to not be cheesy.

To the credit of the band, the entire album is densely written and slickly produced. It resorts to some usual clich