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The Unawake State: Lost In Fiction

Hailing from Stoke on Trent in the UK, The Unawake State are an AOR outfit with a keen eye for a pop melody. Lost In Fiction is the band’s third release where a quick fire five track salvo hits with pure energy and a real sense of fun. Opening with the title track, it’s YouTube sensation Nikki Simmons who handles the vocals, her immensely pop-driven attack and the precision of the percussive force from drummer Alex Jardine making for a sound that’s so commercial I thought I’d tripped up and landed in the charts. Even for an AORster like myself, I must admit that while the hooks are sharp, the synth work exemplary and vocals catchy as can be, put together, what the cut lacks is a little more oomph.

With Cole Bryant of Hell’s Gazelles taking on vocals on “Tweak That Unease” and its much more forceful, if still somewhat techincal-AOR approach, it’s difficult to connect the two track introduction to this EP as being from the same band. It’s a theme that continues on into “Shoot For The Stars”, the guitars from Andrew Goldwater suddenly incise and pushy as Simmons adds a rock meets symphonic edge to her vocals that might not have been expected given her style on the opener. However, she’s excellent here and with a more rockin’ attack from the whole band, I’ve no hesitation in crowning “Shooting…” as this EP’s most convincing moment.

From there “Live My Life”, with Bryant back in vocal charge, struts and pouts in such a way that makes it feel like a guitar and synth led ‘show tune’ and intriguing though it is, yet again, it’s hard to work out exactly where this EP is aimed. Which leaves “Unawake State” to round out this entertaining if somewhat confused collection with a similarly bright pop meets AOR stance as when the EP began. The synths here, from Peter O’Rourke, do feel a little too bright for their own good, but it is interesting to finally hear Simmons and Bryant going head to head with their vocals, with the contrast working surprisingly well.

I’ve spent quite some time with this excellently produced and mastered EP and still can’t quite work out whether it leaves me cold or completely turns me on. A lot of the individual elements are thoroughly impressive - including the two singers - but brought together the results don’t always seem to quite click into place. Add in that the songs don’t feel like they flow into each other particularly well and I should be completely disconnected by the time they are finished. However, as stand alone cuts, the opening three songs stay long in the mind and on that basis leave me more than intrigued to hear if The Unawake State can bring all of their disparate elements together in a, to me anyway, more cohesive manner.

Track Listing
1. Lost In Fiction
2. Tweak That Unease
3. Shoot For The Stars
4. Live My Life Live
5. Unawake State

Added: January 7th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Unawake State @ facebook
Hits: 544
Language: english

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