Fleetwood Mac's incestuous entanglements have nothing on the romantic spark of the Submarines, a Boston-bred duo whose relationship with each other was seemingly as cursed as it was creative. With a recent reconciliation, the group's debut disc is brimming with lovelorn sagas about betrothal and betrayal, amply illuminated by a bitter aftertaste. Blake Hazard's childlike vocals frequently seem on the verge of a disconnection, a rolling caress that's oddly aloof but strangely reassuring, especially when buoyed by John Dragonetti's synth-rock arrangements. While "Hope" has them complaining, "Ain't no sunshine gonna take this pain away," and "Brighter Discontent" laments the inability to find fulfillment, the glisten and glow of "Peace and Hate" and the pulsating tempos of "The Good Night" and "Ready or Not" give the album a chirpy allure. Consequently, it's easy to overlook the harsher rebukes; the melodies that grace Declare a New State are so unceasingly effervescent, they imbue the proceedings with all sorts of bubbly possibilities. That effusive combination should keep the Submarines afloat for some time.
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