By: Rich Buley

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Released on December 15, 2014 via Self-released

Having released a string of fine, critically acclaimed singles as far back as 2007/8, brooding London indie rock 5 piece The Domino State then gave us debut album ‘Uneasy Lies The Crown’ in 2010, and a collection of songs that brought to mind a sonically enhanced Echo & The Bunnymen (to these ears, at least). Closing track ‘Safe Now’ still gets played at least once per fortnight in our house, and contains exactly the sort of blazing, cascading guitar sound and dramatic intensity that I am easily bowled over by, and few bands seem to attempt these days, let alone pull off with such poise and panache.

Unfortunately, despite my long-standing attempt at alerting the neighbours to this, The Domino State’s debut album did not propel them into the mainstream as it should have done, and the long periods of silence and seeming inactivity had us fans wondering whether the follow up would ever see the light of day.

The initial return came in the spring of last year with lead single ‘Your Love’, which retained the dark, sweeping crescendos of their earlier output, but now with lead keys, a hint at things to come maybe?

And now, finally, self-released and without prior notification is early Christmas present ‘Open Heart World’. Out on 15th December, The Domino State have given themselves rather plenty to do in the album of the year stakes…

Opening up with ‘Roses’, what is immediately clear and abundantly comforting is the fact that the band have not attempted to move away from that lovely, deep, sophisticated sound, where Matt Forder’s distinctive, velveteen vocal sits perfectly. It’s a strong start, with the addition of those keys smoothing out the rawer, post punk edges of before and taking the band further towards the anthemic rock of The Boxer Rebellion and the seemingly lost and much missed Longview.

Following the aforementioned ‘Your Love’ we then have ‘Will It All Be Different Now?’, one of several mid tempo tracks that excellently demonstrate the strength of the song writing on show here, and also perhaps best indicate the direction the band are heading in, and the mainstream audience they are hoping to attract.

While there is nothing here with the same head spinning ferment of ‘Safe Now’, in ‘This Is Grey’ and the penultimate and under 3 minute ‘New Face’, there are at least a couple of numbers that crank up the BPM, and allow the band to display their rockier, more playful side brilliantly.

The guitars may not be as prominent as before, but the depth of the sound and Forder’s voice mean the band retain the darker, wistful tones that made them such an interesting and appealing prospect in the first place.

All in all it is a very welcome return for a special and exceptionally talented band, and if there is any justice left in the world of popular music, ‘Open Heart World’ should unfurl a universe of opportunities for The Domino State.

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