eye won't fool i CD review by Dan Sapinkopf in Listener Magazine, Summer, 1997
Static 13 - eye won't fool i - Produced by Josh Abbey, Neil Jason, John McCurry and Static 13. Executive Producer: Jimmy Ienner Jr. Mastered by Greg Calbi at Masterdisk. CBIAH 00012.
Hello. I review jazz. But I used to like rock and roll, even play it occasionally, and every so often I hear something that reminds me of why and when it was an important part of my life. I feel a little awkward about this, seeing as how I really don't know much of what's been going on in rock lately besides snippets of MTV and the background music in bars. I mean, Sugar Ray tried a comeback and was made to fall down abruptly. But I'm hoping the Great Spirit will allow me one more comeback.
Other people who know about such things corroborate my sense that these guys are special. The production credits are an all-star behind-the-scenes group, unusual for an indie project. And there's even an audiophile pedigree here, but more on that later.
Static 13 seem to float just above a landscape of familiar rock references, flitting away into enigma-land with a sneering laugh just as things start to sound derivative. The album begins with a snippet of bar noise, then an old drunken woman warbling Yesterday (reportedly recorded on location in Norway while singer Ari David played cocktail lounge piano). There's a thudding Bonham backbeat and a memory of Ronnie James Dio and Blackmore's Rainbow in the title track, which seems to be about a vague and unpleasant state of arousal bordering on obsession. But then the eye seems to wink during the wobbly chorus, things are no longer so grim, and it becomes clear that the rock and roll clichés of alienation, doom and failed redemption in unhealthy love have been turned inside out, for some indubitably sinister but amusing purpose. Maybe I'm personalizing things, but this band is like a gift for former Rainbow and Aerosmith fans who got a graduate degree and a few esoteric frames of reference but still want to rock and not feel foolish. (I haven't unwrapped that Primus album yet, though).
When Robert Plant sang his special lemonade recipe, part of the pleasure was knowing that he was immersed in his own stoned sexuality, and we dove in with him to be baptized. Jim Morrison broke on through without a helmet and had nowhere to go but down, and he's embraced as a tragic hero. Kurt Cobain...nuff said. Singer Ari David's dark lyrics consistently refer to an awful, yearning emptiness, and both his themes and his sound are vintage; this guy's set up camp overlooking his own dark abyss, but he's opened a hot dog stand and a web page. When he's done wailing, preening, keening and moaning imprecations and pleadings for love, identity and salvation, you can hear him giggling. The abyss is real, but there's a bungee cord. The Grim Reaper is real, but he's your Uncle Stu. Nihilism is fun. The narcissism of rock and roll is temporary; no one has to get hurt.
The playing is good. Guitarist Jay "Crunch" Edson mixes dissonances, feedback, funny tunings and good-old-fashioned Houses of the Holy acoustic, power chords and speedy runs to good effect. Tony "the Professor" Low is a strong, technically solid bassist with a deep sound and mixes the fat-bottomed anchor and the Entwhistle filigree. Chris "Animal" Boylan bangs the drums really hard, turns the beat around with great dexterity and uses open hats and cymbal crashes to great dynamic effect; he's a musical drummer with a sense of texture and song structure.
The sound is really weird. They ought to be ashamed. I feel so dirty just saying it, but...there's air and palpable, 3D presence to the vocals. The lyrics are all comprehensible!!! The biting, droning guitars are well-placed in a distinct soundstage. The bass is both propulsive and enveloping. I can hear the deep throbbing toms yielding their spectrum of harmonics and reverberating off some wall somewhere (what magazine am I writing for?) Sheffield is recording metal? But seriously, there's some alarming and subversive audiophile activity going on. I mean this is good even for Masterdisk. Someone here set some standards. And so, I did some detective work, and it turns out that "Animal" Boylan owns C-J Premier and Martin Logan gear. Some animal! My inquest continues, but it is clear that the Mr. No Identity on track four should be Mr. Dual Identity. I expect the next heavyweight champion to have a Ph.D. in Russian literature and be a connoisseur of single malt scotch. There's nowhere safe to be lowbrow anymore. Yuppies are kicking ass. Actually, its kind of exciting. Now I can go back to my jazz reviews and not feel so old and ashamed. One more try, Sugar Ray?
[Available in NYC at Tower Records, or by sending $13 to Static 13, P.O. Box 20195, Greeley Sq. Station, NY, NY 10001]
eye won't fool i CD review by Tate Bengtson in Chaotic Critiques #8, August, 1997
eye won’t fool i
At the very root of Static 13 is a quality that speaks very positively about the future of this band - strong songwriting. Well-produced and well-packaged, the thirteen songs of eye won’t fool i present an impressive diversity of mood and style. At the forefront are the psychotically harmonious howls of Ari David, who proves to be just as talented at capturing the laid back emotion of the acoustic-based "I Will Be Comin" as the uptempo "Can’t Find You". Every track stands as a unique piece of work that conjures the same sensation as Led Zeppelin-esque hard rock, but combined with a 90s forthrightness that works very effectively. Check out track nine, “Take Me Away”, for an indication of what Static 13 is capable of: moody vocals, killer guitar leads, grooving rhythms, and a memorable chorus. eye won’t fool i signals a great start for this hard rock group, whose consistency, creativity, and skillful musical delivery kept me coming back repeatedly.
Contact: P.O. Box 20195--Greeley Square Station--New York, NY 10001
eye won't fool i CD review by Omar Perez in Altar Native #3, Summer, 1997
Static 13 — eye won’t fool i
A shining example of why half the bands on radio should not be there in the first place. Eye won’t fool i assaults the senses in a way few bands played on AOR radio have, while retaining some sense of originality. The opening title track lays out the battle strategy with raw energy and catchy hooks. Furious acoustic rhythms propel “Can’t Find You,” keeping a sturdy pace through cuts like “Mr. No Identity.” In “I will be comin’,” Ari David’s rich, vibrant voice alternates between bold sustains and sporadic harshness, while the pummeling foundation laid out by bassist Tony Low and drummer Chris Boylan adds the octane that make eye won’t fool i a hidden treasure. With material like this, Static 13 will shine once their time comes.--OP
The Manhattan Mirror
Review - Static 13 at Nightingales
By David Weiss - Aug. 5, 1996
If everyone believed in music like the guys in Static 13, the world would probably, no, it would have to be a better place. Pesky problems like war, poverty and disease would fall by the wayside as soon as the next stadium tour was announced.
To put it bluntly, Static 13, a hard-edged rock outfit with an ear for melody and experimentation, likes playing live. Their recent show at Nightingales displayed a penchant for motion and volume that turned the little dive into a personal little Madison Square Garden for everyone who was there to experience it.
Primary distraction was provided by Static's singer, Ari David, who navigated the stage like an exterminator on whipits. He pushed out his strong rock vocals, either solo or in more mellow harmonies with guitarist Crunch (first name Nestle) and bassist Tony Low. Only drummer Chris Boylan, huddled behind a fence of drums and cymbals, was safe from David's prowling, which could result in surprise bear hugs or tackles of unsuspecting band or audience members. Most of the spectators seemed ready for the danger waiting in the wings of Static 13's rock hard grooves.
As the show progressed, the dedicated audience and the band seemed to melt together into one large family, effectively breaking the barrier between the viewers and the movers and the shakers. Actually, to the uninitiated, the band's passion for the show could be a little disconcerting. But that's what happens when you're in the same room with crazed people in black.
The boys, by the way, have been keeping busy. A new studio project is under way, with local hot shot Neil Jason producing an independent CD release (slated for summer). But, hey, being crazy about music isn't so bad. And if they weren't, it would be that much harder for people to hear some high-low-heavy-pretty sounds like the ones Static 13 produces.
Up and at 'em.
The Home News & Tribune
Static Cling - You're sure to get a charge out of Static 13
By Michele Amabile - Feb. 9, 1996
Ari David made a nice living as a solo artist overseas, but something was missing.
"I was on my own for a long time, but being in a band has been my dream," he said, "As a soloist I was doing cover tunes, and it was a good experience playing, but the band thing is what I wanted to do."
David got his wish, and now the powerhouse singer fronts Static 13, a New York-based band that will bring its energetic live show to the Court Tavern in New Brunswick tonight.
Static 13 - which also features bassist Tony Low, drummer Jeremy Lee and guitarist Jay "Crunch" Edson - are currently recording new material for a CD-5 to be released in the spring, but fans can check out the band's urgent doses of grunge, metal and raw emotion in a two-song cassette, simply and aptly titled "Static 13." According to David, the tape doesn't do the band justice.
"Anybody who sees us live says the show blows the tape away," he said.
Static 13 is packed with experience. David toured Greece, Norway and Sweden as a popular pianist. Low and Lee are members of the now-defunct band Cheepskates, whose record charted in Europe, outselling Nirvana in faraway lands like Sweden. Edson worked as an assistant engineer at the famed Electric Lady Studios.
"We have all done a lot of things and played in different bands," David said. "This is a band I believe in. It has so much energy. I am not doing anything else."
To properly capture the band's energy on CD, Static 13 has recruited Neil Jason to produce. Jason, an in-demand session bassist who has recorded for John Lennon, Dire Straits, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel and Kiss, met David while both men were in the commercial "jingle" business.
"He has his own production company and he has been a player for years. He was on Michael Jackson's last album," noted David of Jason. "His company did all the Miller Beer spots with Rod Stewart and Paul Rodgers. I had just graduated from Berklee (David is a graduate of Berklee School of Music, Boston, with a degree in commercial arranging and orchestration), and I had done some work with him at a production house."
When a different producer didn't work out with the band, David suggested Jason. Jason was hooked after listening to a rehearsal tape of the band, and signed on as the producer. The move was a fruitful one, since the band will do its recording at New York City's esteemed Powerhouse Studios in New York City.
Also on board for the Static 13 party is Sony artist & repertoire consultant/chief photographer Jimmy Ienner Jr., who is helping the band develop into a viable force.
If anything, Static 13's music is very emotionally charged, with lyrics that search the dark side of the human soul. One song, "Tell Me It's Alright" travels the path Type O Negative walks, but with a hope for salvation. David's vocals are the most pained here, with the singer lamenting, "Well, you might think you know me, but you don't/no one really knows the truth."
"You have to do what comes from the inside," David explained of the band's music. "Our music is very emotional."
Taken from a review by Joe Del Priore for The Hudson Current 12/95
"Recently, I've been listening to a number of people new to me from this area and the diversity of work is staggering. One such band is Static 13, led by vocalist Ari David of Hoboken. Their two-song demo has stirred my interest to the point where I'm sorry I missed them at LoveSexy on Dec. 16th.
To be honest, I haven't been listening to much new rock lately and Static 13 reminded me of what I've been missing. "Beast" and "Tell Me It's Alright" were enough to convince me they're worth checking out.
Music and lyrics are a group effort evidently, as no one individual is listed for each tune. David has mastered the art of letting his vocals delineate the music, rather than compete with the band in terms of volume. He does remind one of Robert Plant in his ability to move from intimate whisper to raw gravelly intensity.
Jay "Crunch" Edson lends clean power chords on guitar and I'd like to hear more soloing from him. Especially on "Tell Me It's Alright" drummer Jeremy Lee and bassist Tony Low combine in an insistent mashing rhythm that bounces off Edson's guitar and creates a Wall of Wail.
One line jumps out from "Tell Me" - "Obsession haunts a man it kills." And this from "Beast" - "The beast is you/grab the sky, fall through/it's happening again." I'm not sure if the beast is the narrator or what. Whatever the case, Static 13 creates a full arena sound that must warp the walls of clubs."
"Sensuous, yet intense music, hard-hitting, robust drums and rapturous vocals make up the band Static 13. It is obvious that this band has a mass of musical talent and their unique style puts them in a category of their own.
Their two-song demo featuring tracks "Beast" and "Tell Me It's Alright," captures the ear immediately with their profound lyrics. Both songs possess somewhat of an eerie, yet emotive tone, each in their own individual way. With a hint of metal, a touch of gothic, and a suggestion of grunge, it is quite difficult to define their style. Static 13 are completely original. - Jill Bussin for East Coast Rocker
Four musicians from New Jersey (Ari David (vocals), Jeremy Lee (drums), Jay Edson (guitar) and Tony Low (bass)) are currently taking their extensive years as independent artists and using them, as well as their formidable love for rock and roll to generate the musical melting pot known as Static 13. The demo I received has already secured a producer and major A&R attention. And with good reason, their music kills.
Being hailed as 'the next step in grunge, Static 13 is most worthwhile to check out. - Kelly Barbieri for Livewire Magazine
...[Static 13's] combination of unusual melodies, hard licks, driven rhythms, thoughtful lyrics and avant-garde yet psychedelic trappings make for entertaining, contemporary fare, as [Mind Over Metal] found out when he caught the band performing "Feel It In My Head," "Mr. No Identity," "Someday When" and "Take Me Away" last month at Nightingale's in NYC, a club which saw the rise of the Spin Doctors. - taken from Musicians' Exchange/Mind Over Metal By Tom DiNardo Jan. 1996
Static 13 delivers a brand of original rock music which is both moving and exciting. [A] combination of impassioned lyrics, potent melodies, and interesting rhythms with heaviness... - Nebula Music Magazine/Local Artists Spotlight Mar. 1996
"This is post- something but I'm not sure what... Post- psychedelic? Post-metal? Two slow, eerie numbers with distorted guitars and highly emotional, almost gothic vocals. ...Static 13, staking out new ground and offering up some original sounds."-Jim Testa for Jersey Beat, Fall/Winter 1995
"Rock and Roll of the future." - Ann Leighton
"I have heard from a few sources that these guys are hotter than hell! Open your ears and hear for yourself."-Allen Tecchio for "Steppin' Out" Magazine
"Lead by ex-Cheepskates Tony Low and Jeremy Lee, former Plutonium guitarist Jay [Crunch] Edson and veteran vocalist Ari David, Static 13 sound like a kick-ass hair-metal band zeroing in on a new (and admittedly unique) marketing direction."- The Aquarian Weekly/Jersey Jams Column Feb. 7-14, 1996
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