Formed during a dark time in U.S. history, when we learned that states came in colors and the blue ones would soon suffer four more years of chaos and corruption, The Pagan States give voice to the disenfranchised. With a sound that both soothes and stirs -- calling to mind such diverse influences as Led Zeppelin, Joy Division and Slowdive, but sounding like no one but themselves -- this Seattle band tugs at the frayed edges of society. The three primary players were pulled together by songwriter, bassist and vocalist Randal Prater to craft songs that speak to the soul. The union of Prater and guitarist Peter Sawtell and drummer Gary Hunt was not a new one, however. In a different decade, the three 'states' produced several albums and performed live shows as Creeping Myrtle. Added to the mix this time around are Pagan 'cities,' vocalists Daniel Keiran and Benjamin Thompson. Prater does much of the heavy lifting on The Pagan States self-titled debut, lending his unique vocal style (a dreamy blend of Steve Kilbey and Daniel Ash) and lyrical poetry to the bulk of the album's nine entries. Under his steady supervision, each collaborative effort is given room to breathe and develop. No two sound alike, and all take the listener on a new journey. 'Skeleton,' the opening track, pounds it's way into one's consciousness, then backs off to deliver such thoughtful lines as 'Listen less and you'll hear much more.' Pain and loss are recurrent themes throughout, revealing twisted relationships as close as the person standing next to you and as remote as the White House. 'Pipe Dreams' is pure escapism, flowing in and out of a throbbing intensity and an ethereal high. The album closes with 'Resisterville' and the lines 'We're so sorry, Elysian Fields would just take three. Goodbye, goodbye.' The Pagan States played their farewell show at Nectar Lounge in Seattle, Washington on November 18th, 2006. Randal Prater is currently on the cusp of releasing his first solo album where he played and recorded all the parts himself. Look for that on March 20th. Related links: PAGANSTATES.com RANDALPRATER.com CREEPINGMYRTLE.com DOLDRUM.com.