A Static Lullaby
Chino Hills, CA

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To steal a line from that old sage Bob Dylan, "He not busy being born is busy dying." One listen to the new, third album from A Static Lullaby, and it 's clear the Chino Hills, California, quintet have spent the past year absorbed in that idea.

They 've survived internal turmoil, the loss of old friends, and the harsh realities of life on a major label; and now, having emerged from that period quite literally a new band, ASL unleash the strongest, fiercest set of songs in their arsenal. In other words, you 'd better believe there 's a reason A Static Lullaby is self-titled.

I remember sitting down to listen to these new songs for the first time and thinking, "Yeah, this is what I believe the band should be; this is what it should sound like," remembers singer Joe Brown, who co-founded ASL in 2001 with singer/guitarist Dan Arnold. And so when I talk about why we made this record self-titled, it 's like, yeah, this band 's been through some trouble in terms of past relationships, but I absolutely believe in who we are right now. From the second they pick up this record, I want everybody who hears it to feel the same way.

Indeed, while the lyrics on A Static Lullaby cover a wide range of experience, from love and loss to rage and reflection, the album 's basic theme revolves around, as Brown describes it, "relationships in transition." And while it certainly would 've been easy for Brown and Arnold to adopt the same "woe is me" formula that 's made millionaires out of so many of their post-hardcore peers, anyone familiar with the pair 's songwriting knows there 's no room for self-pity in A Static Lullaby. No, to be in this band is to commit to self-advancement.

That sort of philosophy has driven ASL from day one, when, starting with a powerful debut EP (2002 's Withered), the band carved out a post-hardcore aesthetic that was at once noisy and melodic, relentless and refined. After releasing their first album, 2003 's And Don 't Forget to Breathe, via New Jersey 's venerable Ferret Music, ASL amped up their ferocious touring regimen, taking their music to bigger audiences than ever alongside the likes of AFI, the Used and My Chemical Romance. Not surprisingly, the band had become a hot commodity, and by the time Columbia Records signed ASL in 2004 and matched them up with veteran producer Lou Giordano (Taking Back Sunday, Goo Goo Dolls), the possibilities seemed limitless. But in a cruel ironic twist, the same creative differences that made 2005 's Faso Latido such a jarring, experimental sophomore effort also brought inter-band tensions to a head; and that fall, having already lost one member, drummer Brett Dinovo, who returned to school, Brown and guitarist Dan wound up in an ugly split with bassist Phil Pirrone and guitarist Nathan Lindeman.

While other musicians might 've let such drama color their band 's future, Brown and Arnold turned it into a source of positive energy. After taking some time to refocus, the pair reached out to their fans via MySpace and, quite honestly, were a little freaked out by the sheer number of responses to their call for new musicians. "I quickly realized that I didn 't know how to put a band together!" Brown recalls with a laugh. "I 'd never had to do it before; I 've always just sort of gone to my friends who had similar ideas. And so I thought, I 'm going to get the best musicians I can, people that understand music the same way I do; people that are young, that have fire, and that can play. Enter guitarist John Death and bassist Dane Poppin, who not only round out the current lineup alongside longtime band friend and one-time ASL drummer Jarrod Alexander; they also bring a heightened level of musicianship to match Brown and Arnolds already formidable skills.

Eleven songs strong and not an ounce of fat among them, A Static Lullaby is a wakeup call to a scene filled with careerists and pretenders: From the jagged, melodic bite of the early MySpace singles "Hang 'Em High" and "The Art Of Sharing Lovers" to the pile-driving post-hardcore pile-ups of "Static Slumber Party" and the atmospheric washes of "Mechanical Heart," the album simply rips harder than anything ASL have recorded to date. At the same time, it 's also the most musical album they 've ever made: Poppin 's rich, fluid bass lines add new layers of melody to the songs, deep foundations; Alexanders drumming swings as hard as it punches; and the alternately dissonant and melodic guitar interplay between Arnold and Death complements Brown and Arnolds trademark dueling vocal styles. Some may call the albums leaner, meaner feel a "return to form." ASL even went back to "And Don 't Forget to Breathes" producer, Steve Evetts (Hatebreed, Lifetime, Saves the Day), to make the album, but there 's no rehashing of past glories here.

If it 's a testament to the new material 's strength that ASL wrote and recorded A Static Lullaby in four months, proof positive is that the band were able to find a new record label almost immediately after severing ties with Columbia. Floored by ASL 's new demos, Fearless Records president Bob Becker jumped at the chance to sign the band in January of 2006. And with the support the band are already getting from their new label by the time the album hits stores, the world will have been re-introduced to ASL via video spots on MTV and Fuse, an ASL mini-comic book (tied in with the albums striking cover art), and a full-scale U.S. tour, it 's as if ASL have a new lease on life. As Brown explains it, "We knew we 'd have to do a little bit of rebuilding, but I really feel like, based on this album and what we 're now capable of doing in our live show, it 's going to be really positive."

Or, to paraphrase another famous line: A Static Lullaby is dead; long live A Static Lullaby.

Band Members

Joe Brown

Dan Arnold
Vocals, Guitar

John Death
Guitar, Vocals

Dane Poppin
Bass, Vocals

Jarrod Alexander

MySpace Profile

Click here:
A Static Lullaby on MySpace

Record Label

Fearless Records