Stay Lost

Written by: TL on 23/09/2016 14:19:54

Creativity flows boundlessly in the extended family of Blue Swan Records, that much is clear listening to pretty much any of the progressive rock and post-hardcore bands affiliated with Will Swan's label. The 'supergroup' Sianvar is just another sign of this, serving as a sort of artistic getaway for Swan (the guitarist of Dance Gavin Dance), Sergio Medina (guitarist of Stolas), Donovan Melero (singer, Hail the Sun) and Michael Franzino and Joseph Arrington (of A Lot Like Birds). Apparently, they have no notions of measuring their output of this kind of stuff, because despite Hail The Sun and Dance Gavin Dance already being active with new albums this year, Sianvar's debut, "Stay Lost", was recently released as well.

And what would it sound like if not exactly an amalgamation of the member's influences, and of bits and pieces that sound like they just didn't fit on the main bands' most recent efforts? Melero's Circa Survive-esque vocal work isn't any different from his approach in Hail The Sun, and a shared, persistent liking for Mars Volta is pretty obvious in things like the bass line Franzino plays in the beginning of "Omniphobia". Meanwhile "Coordinate Love" has a funkiness and a bright chorus melody that sounds like it could've been a Dance Gavin Dance b-side, and in more places than one you wonder if Swan and Medina have been listening to the Europeans from Mutiny On The Bounty, judging from the tone of their guitar work, which has some particularly tasty sections to behold in "Omniphobia" and "BedRoots".

Overall, though, repeat listens might leave you questioning whether Sianvar is more necessary for its members as an alternative outlet than it is for listeners. The main bands the members come from are already distinct mainly by nuances, and while Sianvar is indeed separate from them also, the band has hardly forged a very strong identity for itself, nor for the record as a coherent listening experience. The technicality is impressive, sure, but by now you sort of expect no less from Blue Swan bands, so this alone doesn't maintain interest during stretches where attention drifts and you feel a bit like you're simply listening to excess Hail The Sun material. It also does not help that Melero often feels distanced on the vocals, as if he's sort of run a bit dry for particularly evocative lyrical imagery to try and squeeze in between the instrumental shenanigans.

Overall "Stay Lost" shakes out as complex, expansive music that's good for what that's worth, but it lacks more distinct highlights, and in a bigger sense, a more consolidated sense of personality to make it more apparent why one should listen to this as well as the members' other bands. As it is, its weaker moments have it balancing on the verge of watering down what is essentially the record label's bread and butter, and currently, it figures to end up as one of the less memorable additions to the Blue Swan catalogue.


Download: Stay Lost, Coordinate Love, BedRoots, Omniphobia
For The Fans Of: Circa Survive, Hail The Sun, The Mars Volta, Mutiny On The Bounty

Release date 05.08.2016
Blue Swan Records

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