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Album Review

When a band says things like "consumerism and the corporate media have taken us all down the path of cynicism, apathy, and nihilism" and "the music we like has always spoken to the struggle," one might be forgiven for expecting a certain amount of hectoring in the lyrics, and maybe a bit of overweening '60s revivalism in the music. And to be sure, it's not like Sound Tribe Sector 9 haven't been guilty of both at times in their past work. But on Peaceblaster there aren't really any lyrics at all — the band sticks to the instrumentals that have been its meat and potatoes since it formed ten years ago — and the music is a rich blend of elements from any number of rock and electronica subgenres. The results are consistently enjoyable without ever being really terribly interesting. The music doesn't come across as overly smooth and it's certainly not lazy, but there is a kind of laid-back confidence that informs even the most raucous tracks on this album — and the most raucous tracks aren't very raucous. They're funky (check out "Beyond Right Now" and the eventually jungly "Metameme") and sometimes avant-gardish (the weird music-and-spoken-word sound collage "Regeneration"), and sometimes they're downright jazzy (the borderline fusion experiment "Oh Little Brain"). And the band does manage to get preachy in a couple of cases by importing some found-sound speechifying. But for the most part this album is good, not terribly challenging fun.

Customer Reviews

The difference between studio and live...

The songs on their first 2 studio albums were pretty much the same as how you'd hear the music played live at a concert. Artifact, Live At Home, and Peaceblaster have been more or less pieces of art unto themselves. Sure, you might catch a couple of songs from the new album at a show, but in a year that song will be completely different...if they're still playing it at all. I'm always surprised at how many new songs are debuted, rearranged, and perfected throughout their touring and how few of those wind up on albums. Conspicuously missing here are Instantly, Aimlessly, Be Nice, and The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature, but what Peaceblaster does deliver is a very solid introduction to the band's current sound. If you think this stuff sounds cool, go check 'em out live. You'll be blown away.

Hmmm... Different

STS9 seems to have taken an interesting turn. I used to enjoy them for their mellow, jazzy compositions and how well that contrasted with the energy and passion of their live shows. Their new album, Peaceblaster, seems to have captured that raw energy and passion onto a recording. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, I love that about them, that's one of the reasons I like the group so much. On the other... I also really liked that chill vibe that they had. It was relaxing but still engaging. While some tracks seem to have carried that over, there is definitely a much stronger electronic vibe, and a lot of heavier tracks than I'm used to hearing from them. The bass thumps on this, and the snares hit heavy, and the guitar is distorted. Overall, I like it a lot but its really hard to compare to their other stuff.


really heady.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Founded in Georgia in the late '90s, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (later STS9) quickly refined a style of dub-influenced, breakbeat-infused psychedelic music with a heavy emphasis on group improvisation, comparable to the work of jam band peers such as the Disco Biscuits and the New Deal. The group's debut effort, 1998's Interplanetary Escape Vehicle, was recorded soon after the group's formation and thus provided only scant hints of the sound the band would develop, instead focusing on instrumental funk...
Full Bio
Peaceblaster, STS9
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Customer Ratings