Stavo is a self-described Progressive Rock band, out of New York. Their newest album is titled, Void Of Polarity XI:XI, which of course translates into 11:11, the Universal symbol of wish fulfillment. They are a 4 piece group, with a relatively bare bones setup for a Prog Band. That aspect, however, does not take away from Stavo’s ability to create a fully fleshed sound. A sound that provides several moments of hyperbolic melodrama, throughout the record.
The musicianship is the primary objective for any Prog Group. They aim to create from a place of technique and theory, rather than raw emotion, or whim. For that reason, it can be a polarizing genre, in that some find it difficult to connect to. Having said that, many Prog Bands have gone on to achieve massive mainstream success. Credit is due to musicians in this genre for fully committing themselves, in spite of the of the attached stigmas.
As is often the case with the genre, Void Of Polarity is a concept album. It tells the story of Indigo; a woman who longs to escape the drudgery of everyday life, and pursue her dreams. The ensuing conflict is defined by her uncertainty over whether or not the risk is worth taking. The concept gives the album a linear narrative, and to the band’s credit, they devotedly adhere to it. The storyline is easy enough to follow, and conceivable.
“Change The World” is the first track to feature vocals on the album. It can almost identify as a Power Pop song, as Frontwoman, Sharon Kuplan is featured, prominently. Her voice carries the piece, but the band backs her, with a powerful performance, that displays just how tight they are. I’m sorry my innocence/will overcome your ignorance. This song is the first official chapter in Indigo’s journey, it describes her most ambitious, and ultimate objective.
“Paradox Of Reality” is an epic, 7 minute piece, that has shades of Zeppelin, Heart, and Rush. It starts with a folk laden, mildly Celtic like guitar, and we think we are in for a ballad. After around 2 minutes of melodic stylings, the piece takes a sharp left turn, and we find ourselves in the midst of an all out jam. This is where the Rush influence is highly apparent, as Guitarist, Dan Savertsky, and Bassist, Sam Klotz play off of each other, impeccably. The song climaxes with a dramatic crescendo, as Kuplan belts out the title.
By all indications, Stavo has accomplished exactly what they set out to with Void Of Polarity. It’s a relatively well paced, and exceptionally well-conceived, concept album. The band is a fluid machine that succeeds in bringing their own individual abilities to the band, and congealing them to create one singular experience. It seems obvious to point out, considering their genre, but the musicianship is nothing short of virtuosic. Stavo have cemented their status with Void Of Polarity, by remaining committed to their identity and unwavering vision.
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