"The State" is Nickelback's second studio album released and critically acclaimed in Canada. The album is certified Gold with more than 500,000 copies sold in the US.
Prior to the release of The State
, grungey Nickelback won a Juno Award--the Canadian equivalent of a BRIT Award--for Best New Band. Named after an expression often used by bassist Mike Kroeger when serving coffees for $1.95 each in Starbucks, Nickelback have toured alongside Creed
and owe a similar debt to the anthemic rock and articulate soulfulness of Pearl Jam
. The State
is consciously dramatic, with sweet strums constantly overwhelmed by crashing waves of distorted guitar. Singer Chad Kroeger (Mike's brother) meaningfully croons and wails his tales of life in a small town, with its complex relationships, claustrophobic underground culture and uncomfortable struggle between easy comfort (staying) and invigorating adventure (leaving). Yet Nickelback are at their best when escaping the Pearl Jam influence, as with the heavy, ponderous Billy Squier-style riffing of "Deep", the dirty 70s grind of "Not Leavin' Yet" and the slightly more experimental "Worthy To Say", where a near-Oriental ambient guitar is suddenly hammered by a burst of big rock and Chad Kroeger delivers a bluesy rap recalling prime-time Paul Rodgers. Nickelback are good, but still growing. Once they achieve their own clearly identifiable sound, they may well be great. --Dominic Wills