The only fault I can find in Clairvoyant isn’t really an error at all, simply a misdirection. The creepy cult art (a god damn child holding a skull high over his head…) and eerie symbology, the song titles that feel like chapters in a 1960s hippie self-help book, the sense that the California act’s long-awaited return would be closer to Ari Aster’s folk horror Midsommar than Resonant/Desperate or Desolate Peaks: it all adds up to something that could be misleading at first glance. Instead, Clairvoyant is State Faults’ resonant peak, a record brimming with passion, energy, and a chaotic passion to share a message that was likely very popular in the 60s.
In a sense all the cult references and imagery feels particularly purposeful, even if it is misleading: this is an impassioned cry for peace on earth, for “love to be the law always,” as the band put it. It’s a rallying cry that cuts to the core of the human experience, a countercultural shout in our post-truth violent world. It’s clear the record is speaking to the marginalized, the maladjusted, the frustrated; Clairvoyant speaks words well beyond Jonny Andrew’s ferocious screams, aiming to unite based on a goal of positive change rather than taking the country back to some nonexistent “great period”.
Most importantly – at least as far as how the record first grabs the listener – State Faults have never sounded this assured, this powerful. It’s their most frenzied yet most atmospheric. It features the band’s best riffs and most impressive songwriting. While the band have never lacked in creating passionate post-hardcore, Clairvoyant feels like their most widescreen release, showcasing how far the band can take their sonic extremes. It’s also really fucking fun and entertaining, reveling in the band’s collective desire to craft bombast that sticks with the listener.
Clairvoyant works because it’s where creative drive and powerful messages meet to scale the summit of screamo. Welcome back, State Faults.