“Void Of Polarity XI:XI” LP by STAVO
For their sophomore effort, Rochester based Prog Rock Band, Stavo, has released a full length LP. In a follow up to their EP, Everything In Between, Void Of Polarity XI:XI is a concept album, centered around a female subject named, Indigo. Stavo is comprised of Sharon Kuplan on Vocals/Keys, Sam Klotz on Bass, John Rolland on Drums, and Dan Savertsky on Guitar. They describe themselves as “four like minded individuals, with different musical backgrounds.” All four are said to be well established and well educated in regards to their craft, and you can certainly hear that in Stavo’s music.
An acoustic strums to open “Clock On The Wall,” which is clever and emblematic of what it feels like to watch one. This one is a 7 minute epic, like several others on this record. The track is efficiently arranged, with incredible balance, allowing perfect clarity for each instrument. There’s a crunchy guitar tone, that is somewhat uncommon for Prog Rock, but it gives the song a certain heaviness that enhances the tone of its content. Will you answer the call/or are you destined to fall, sings Kuplan, in a line that can make the dreamer in us, feel a slight unease.
“Clock On The Wall,” concludes with a lengthy instrumental section, because of course it does. Kuplan wraps things up with one more helping of the chorus line. This is a well performed and well written piece, that serves as kind of a middle point to the story of Indigo’s plight. One of the things to like about this record is the refreshing lack of pretension. Prog Rock isn’t always known for its humility, and this record serves as a counterpoint to that stereotype.
By the time we reach the penultimate track, “Never Go Back,” we have come to a decisive moment in Indigo’s story. This one features what is perhaps Kuplan’s most impassioned vocal performance, as she throws herself into Indigo’s affirmation of destiny. There is also some absolutely insane synth work by the aforementioned, which is among some of the best and most fluid I have ever heard on record. This piece has such a classic quality and tonality. You will feel as if you are in a time warp, somewhere in the 1970’s, relaxing on a bed, spaced out with headphones, blaring.
“Indigo Child” is an up tempo rocker, with excellent work by John Rolland on drums. Kuplan vocals are at their most flattering, and the guitar work by Savertsky, though not without a few hiccups, is blistering, complete with a shredding solo. I’m a 3D soldier/and I’m getting bolder/Cause In my dreams/I fly. Lyrically, Stavo makes more of an effort at transparency than many Prog acts. This is a song that has true radio potential, as well as some quaint Yes vibes.
Stavo is sure to point out that this record was born during the pandemic lockdown. It’s apparent they took that opportunity, to make a concerted and focused effort to create a comprehensive concept album, without any gaping plot holes. The result is a formidable Prog record that more than succeeds in proving the band’s abilities. Listening to Void Of Polarity is akin to a full course meal, with only a modicum of excess. Stavo is doing their part to be progressive in a musically stagnant era.
Written by Mark Ryan, posted by John McCall