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On The State of Feeling Concentration, she sounds confident and in charge. On the lissome "When Songbirds Sing," as she coos, "When my world caves in/I find peace again/Hearing your voice again/brings comfort to me," she produces the same serenity. It's not hard to imagine the foursome's parents finding the music worthy of praise as well.
"All of our families are so supportive," says Lindholm. "My mom even sent our CD to Sony," adds Olmino, bouncing a rubber ball from hand to hand. That exchange led to the band being invited to participate in a Sony Music showcase in South Beach earlier this month.
Although the group felt out of place among the throng of Limp Bizkit and Backstreet Boys clones, the showcase moved it closer to signing with a big label, and the compliments kept coming. After just 15 months and fewer than a dozen shows, the Rocking Horse Winner already may be on the fast track.
"Do you know how many CDs those Sony people listen to?" Gomez asks. "For them to take the time to even call us, that gives us something to push for. We have the talent, we've got what it takes, we just haven't had a hit yet. Maybe we do and nobody hears it."
Two elements give The State of Feeling Concentration its immediate appeal. The production, by local engineering guru James Paul Wisner, is crisp and professional. "He knows how to get what's inside us out," says Crum. "We require a polished sound." Olmino's backup vocals and occasional piano and Crum's busy fills are carefully orchestrated. Each tom-tom thump, each plucked guitar note, rings out limpid and clear. The other reason is Lindholm's sweet, winsome vocals.
"When you come right down to it, it's her voice," Gomez claims. "It's soothing."
"She definitely has a beautiful voice," adds Olmino.
Modestly Lindholm says, "Well, the songs are pretty catchy."
In fact The State of Feeling Concentration's most sublime composition, "Sweet Smell Before the Rain," would spill from car radios everywhere if there were any justice in the world. Around a slow, revolving melody spiked with vibraphone, Lindholm unfurls simple tales of relationship troubles and pursuit/distance mechanics. Near the conclusion, it's up to a jangling tambourine and sturdy strumming to indicate a climax of sorts while Lindholm lets loose: "Whatever, whatever, whatever!/I'll miss you when you're gone."
The song is magnificent -- enough to doubt that an environment of cookie-cutter condos and endless asphalt could have possibly fostered an atmosphere conducive to such beauty. The relative squalor of the group's suburban rehearsal space makes it even less likely. "We practice in a little ten-by-ten-foot hole in the wall," Gomez notes. "Mosquitoes, cockroaches, no a/c... We spend hours in there. And it's hot."
Listeners seem to feel just the opposite. "A lot of people give us a "breath of fresh air' type of response," says Crum. Indeed, it's hard to think of any South Florida counterpart to the Rocking Horse Winner. So the band is impossible to ignore and difficult not to fall in love with. "I want kids to get something out of it," Olmino concludes. "That's my goal. There's no better feeling in the world."