Downstait have been keeping themselves busy as of late by touring regionally with Skid Row and Ra and opening several national concerts at Piere's. Despite this flurry of activity, Downstait also found enough time to write and record their full-length debut album, Separation Anxiety. For fans of Downstait, Separation Anxiety will sound somewhat familiar as it contains all seven songs from their previously released EP, Can You Hear Me Now? Like Can You Hear Me Now?, Separation Anxiety is heavily influenced by Ra's Sahaj Ticotin, as he produced and engineered the album while sharing writing credit on all of the songs.
But don't be confused. Though the band is wise to take direction from an industry veteran like Ticotin, this isn't Ra. Downstait definitely shares the Ra's radio sensibility and knack for incorporating big hooks into their songwriting, but they seem to have been working hard to improve their musicianship and songwriting over the course of the last year. In Separation Anxiety, they inject enough of their own unique style into the songs to make them undeniably Downstait. The hard work pays off on this new disc in the form of some of the best pop/rock music you can find anywhere in the area.
While Can You Hear Me Now? was a great introduction to Downstait and contained some really good, radio-friendly songs, Separation Anxiety takes that formula to the next level. Sandwiched between the previously released songs, the six new songs show off the potential this band holds.
"No One" is likely the strongest of the new songs with its catchy chorus and adept guitar playing. The song is already getting some national attention. A few radio stations outside of the Fort, including stations in the New York and New Jersey area as well as Decatur, Illinois and Flint, Michigan, have picked it up, and the song introduces both subtle and harder edged elements of the band that show off Separation Anxiety's diversity.
"Love is All I Have" and "Best Day" are quality hook-heavy songs that could easily fit alongside Hinder or Saving Abel on the radio and "Take it to the Line" has a scream/sing chorus that will bounce around in your head for days on end.
The last of the new songs, "Sleep in the Dark," is a ballad that shows us that the band is not afraid to show a lighter side and can write good songs in just about any style you would like.
With Separation Anxiety, Downstait have put forth an effort that solidifies their reputation as a solid, songwriting machine. After hearing what Downstait have accomplished on this first album, I am excited to see what the future holds for this young band.