By Conor Hooley
Shooting Down Satellites’ The Sovereign EP takes modern rock into outer space, with an inviting combination of anthemic sounds and interstellar overtones. The opening track “Beautiful Backbone” begins with an ambient overture that leads into a charging song that establishes the theatrical scope of what’s to follow.
“Make Your Battles Mine” sees the band slow things down, opting for a more melodic approach. Bassist/vocalist Eric Pierce showcases his clean-sounding, pop-tinged vocal stylings throughout the track, favorably comparing to 311 vocalist Nick Hexum (no, seriously). Like Hexum, Pierce relies on simplistic, occasionally vapid lyrics, but his voice more than compensates for it.
The middle of the EP shines the brightest. “Cosmic Dancer” is a bombastic, operatic ballad that reaches for great heights, opening with soft, rhythmic arrangements that build into a blistering, minute-long climax. “Luna” allows the listener a moment of recourse, with tasteful harmonizing and another solid performance from Hansen.
“Invasion of the Body Snatchers” returns the disc to faster and tougher territory, adding sampled astronaut transmissions and piano keys into the fold as it gradually builds toward another epic finish, largely in the same way that “Cosmic Dancer” does – but with a bit more edge.
“Fortress” is a somewhat forgettable, by-the-numbers conclusion to an otherwise strong EP, but does maintain the high energy that shines through most of the disc. The Sovereign is an adventurous, attention-grabbing offering that falls somewhere in between the commercial and the cosmic.