When I first saw Static Revival at some MTSU Battle of the Bands of sorts, I knew they weren’t messing around. Three years or so later, they’ve got this tight little gem of an EP, Gilding the Lily, recorded at House of Blues Studios in Nashville and released March 5. It’s six tracks of impassioned Southern-rock euphoria with lyrics that mirror anyone’s worst or best of days.
Tyler Grooms’ gray vocals have a layer of dust over them not unlike Jakob Dylan’s as he sings the opener, “North to the Future,” with a passionate lilt: “But when she talked about her home / Well, you could see it in her soul.” The line is only one of many relatable observations and sentiments on Gilding the Lily, awash in twangy and astral guitars (provided by Grooms and lead guitarist Cody Wilson) in a manner reminiscent of My Morning Jacket or Band of Horses.
On “Whole,” possibly the most introspective track on the EP, Grooms crams philosophy into the uplifting sonic framework: “The mirror makes you out to be whatever you don’t want to see if you’re scared to look / Allow yourself to know that on your own you would already have what it took / Let go of the lies you hold inside and you’ll find your peace / You’ll see the path was always clear and the things you feared have no meaning.”
Hope vanishes but does so beautifully on the dejected “Faded,” while its lyrical polar opposite, “Vista,” follows closely behind with its eye on a bright horizon—a juxtaposition which may be the point of Gilding the Lily—to catch the mountains (self-appreciation, defying fear) as well as the valleys (defeatism, villainous women with “devil’s eyes”). It all sounds influenced by the torchbearers who explored and expanded the bounds of Southern rock, such as My Morning Jacket and—shades of oldies—Bob Seger (especially on “Wanderlust”) in a good ol’ Southern boy-meets-poet fashion.