Tri-State Era was originally a band comprised of a group of friends from Danbury, Connecticut. At first, it wasn’t a really serious project until their untitled 2012 demo received a decent amount of attention in the New England music scene. Their 2012 demo (which I’m nearly positive I wrote about in my first review for The Q), consisted of two songs: “Are You Listening Now?” and “Breeze Home.” With a total run time of five minutes and 51 seconds, their self-released demo filled with emotional lyrics, fantastic drum fills, and twinkle-esque guitars left me with a hunger that only could be satisfied by more Tri-State Era. This need was satisfied in March of this year when Heads Up Records released a compilation with a single new Tri-State Era song titled “There’s Nothing You Can Tell Me,” which also happens to be the opening song on their recently released EP titled “Blaze Home.”
The first new song on “Blaze Home” is titled “Smoked Out” and although it starts with low-volume clean guitar strums, it quickly becomes Tri-State’s heaviest song yet. After the clean introduction, the whole band jumps in with vocalist Tim Sandrey singing passionately “Your sarcasm sinks in/ In a room too shallow to drown in/ Between your confidence and back-handed sentiments/ it’s fucked but you know just how to fake it.” Drummer Adam Szulczewski’s skills are displayed from the start of “Smoked Out” as well; instead of being a drummer who only provides rhythmic support, Szulczewski plays with an intense drum style laden with challenging and incredibly well written fills. The fills are utilized to propel the band through sections and dynamic changes – which is probably my favorite quality about Tri-State Era, as nearly every song possesses interesting dynamic changes that change both the pace and feel of the song.
“Castles,” the fourth song on “Blaze Home” is much softer than “Smoked Out,” but equally as well written, which validates Tri-State Era’s ability to play different shades of emo pop-punk. “Castles” is a song about growing up faster than you realize and feeling as if your youth has completely escaped you. The lyrics showcase this as Tim Sandrey sings “It’s hard to find when the basis of our youth is fleeting/and all the castles that we built are crumbling down.”
The final song on the new Tri-State Era EP is fittingly titled “Blaze Home,” and is a re-recorded version of the final song on the 2012 demo titled “Breeze Home.” Besides a slightly different name and change in key, “Blaze Home” is nearly identical to it’s earlier version, except for a change in vocals. The singing on “Blaze Home” sounds more distressed and emotional than “Breeze Home” previously had – and this is due to the fact that between the release of the 2012 demo and “Blaze Home,” Tim Sandrey has become the primary vocalist rather than a call and answer effect previously employed between Tim and Shane Williams. “Blaze Home” showcases the guitar skills of the two new additions to the band, Brian Shepherd and Dave Vitola, and solidifies a place for them in the band by performing a previously written song exactly how it had originally intended to played. The lyrics at the end of “Blaze Home” still remain my favorite Tri-State Era lyrics as layered vocals harmonize “What you have to say/ You try so hard to save/ With misused metaphors left on the venue’s floor/ all your affected hooks/ and all the time it took/ to step in someone else’s shoes and pretend they’re yours.”
In my opinion, “Blaze Home” is a work of art, bringing listeners through several dynamic and changes and personal lyrics that prove that Tri-State Era have not only maintained their original blend of pop-punk and emo displayed on the 2012 demo, but have also evolved upon that sound. As with the debut demo, my only problem with “Blaze Home” is the run time, because I am again left wanting more Tri-State Era.