- Cullman, Alabama

February 28, 2011

Playback: We Were The States mix garage, southern rock

Album review

By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Hailing from Murfreesboro, Tenn., indie rockers We Were The States have made a fledgeling career out of jamming Strokes-esque tunes in bars and on stages around the southeast.

Their sound falls comfortably in the category of southern-tinged garage rock ala The Whigs, but with a more frenetic quality akin to the Arctic Monkeys.

Though they recently released a spotty sophomore album called Rasa in late 2010, the band really showed it’s potential on the 2008 debut Believe the Thieves.

While simultaneously channeling the sonic verve of Oasis, and the short-burst spunk of The Ramones, We Were The States churned out approximately 30 minutes of sweaty, frenzied garage rock perfection with their independent debut.

Considering the historic focus on country music in Tennessee, especially considering the nearby city of Nashville’s roots, it’s refreshing to see a band bring the country rock swagger of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, and turn it on it’s head with churning guitars that sound more at home in Brooklyn, as opposed to a mid-size town about 50 miles south of Nashville.

Since it’s release in 2008, Believe the Thieves has garnered the band some glimmers of buzz, playing sets at festivals like SXSW, and being  listed as one of the “9 SXSW Bands that Blew Us Away Unexpectedly” by Though they sadly haven’t garnered too much attention, We Were the States is more than worthy of one of those “Next Big Thing” monikers, especially considering the attention heaped upon so-so acts like Vampire Weekend, etc. in recent years.

Highlights include the opening single “Up Your Sleeve,” which gives a solid approximation of the sound and vibe to come, as well as the blasting “Red Lion” and catchy “Start Something.”

If you’re looking for one of the better indie rock acts you’ve never heard of, We Were the States is just the ticket.

Plus, if you become a fan, the band tours close enough to Alabama that it would only take a short road trip to catch a live show.

The album is available to order online, and iTunes also has Believe the Thieves available for download.

‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.