In the movie High Fidelity, John Cusack’s character asks: “What came first? The music or the misery?”

Fall Out Boy later wrote a whole song about it (titled, appropriately, ‘The Music or the Misery’) to ask whether scene music heals the misery or the misery is a product of scene music. State of You, a new UK band, ignore the question altogether: “There’s nothing left for you or me! So let’s enjoy the misery!” And man, do I accept their invitation. 

Every Time I Die married The Bronx (the band, not the NYC borough), had a kid named Cancer Bats, who grew up and had a kid with Beartooth: voilĂ , State of You. The new UK metalcore band congealed just before the pandemic out of a handful of underground UK bands like Polar, Tessa Jones, and Hildamay. State of You’s talent is Rick Keenan on bass, Ollie Jeffs and Max O’Neil on the six-strings, Nick Jones pounding the drums, and Steve Sitkowski with the howls. These five members of State of You passed ideas over the internet during the quarantine months. Then, over video game voice chat, they pared forty ideas down to six complete songs. Upon release of their first single, Silent Cult signed them to their label. 

State of You make it easy to enjoy the misery: their first song, ‘Lies,’ starts with a fantastic guitar riff. Guitar riffs and energy are State of You’s greatest strengths, and they use both to the fullest. The first single and second song in the tracklist, ‘Run,’ has that bridge-cable guitar sound iconic to metalcore. The vocals continue in their Shomo-via-Anselmo barked monotone, but they sound further away than in the previous track, perhaps because they’re taking the song title to heart. 

The third track, ‘Blood Party,’ is the most juvenile and cathartic. (Why is it cathartic songs lend themselves to such lyrics?) State of You add more vocal textures and renewed energy; it’s hard not to scream along to “We don’t listen to anyone / Only my heart and soul… and we feel all right!” 

Steve Sitkowski lived with undiagnosed ADHD much of his life. ‘The Perfect Storm’ is him sharing his experience of “being incapable of functioning in the real and not being able to figure out why.” The music video is a visual representation of that. The band members get done up in dresses, makeup, and ’50s grandma-style wigs and have a tea party, which is crashed and ruined by Sitkowski dressed similarly. It’s amusing, but its meaning gives it a sadder flavor. 

By ‘The Colour Blue,’ the EP’s fifth track, State of You’s excellent sound is becoming homogeneous. If it were a full-length album, I would find myself wishing for a greater variety in song structure and riffage, but for the six tracks State of You have here, it’s a strong debut. 

‘Reckoning’ is the final track on this debut. After that, I reckon I’ll spin both it and the EP quite a bit. Surprisingly, perhaps, it’s slower than the rest of the release and has a mellower style. After five high-energy tracks, it’s a welcome change and a pleasant way to close the album. 


‘Lies:’ Few bands are loud and proud enough to call out their own misery and invite others to join. State of You prove they’ve got the lyrics to back their unabashed sound. 

‘Run:’ The funniest line in the EP? “I’m no good, like the government!” 

‘Reckoning:’ Some might question the wisdom of closing a blistering debut with a slower song, but I think State of You know precisely what they’re doing. 

In summary…

State of You’s members paid their dues in underground UK bands before forming this group, and it shows. The sound is already well-baked; the instruments and vocals are tight; the lyrics are good. They were wise to release a remarkable six-track debut rather than a twelve-track debut with a couple of underbaked tracks. State of You’s self-titled EP is a release I look forward to: give it a spin yourself when it comes out on September 2, 2022, through the Silent Cult label. 

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