City Calm Down - Echoes in Blue Review


City Calm Down are one of those bands that are a rarity, creating a post-punk baritone sound in the new millennium is quite scarce. Some people will see this as tampering with something that has already been done, others will see it as paying homage to bands that have come before them with this similar sound; i.e Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order, Sonic Youth. I see it as the latter, it’s refreshing to know that a band in 2018 is willing to create this sound again, regardless of the ridicule they may receive, and also the popularity of the sound. That’s not to say that Echoes in Blue is pure post-punk, it’s far from it at times, with major sections of alt-rock, and glimpses of new wave. It opens with a cracker of a track in Joan, I’m Disappearing, a nice slow build with synth piano into what is an emotional ballad with an echoing bride and chorus, “I should’ve begged for you to stay, Joan I’ve loved you since I was 17 and I am lost without you”, haunting stuff. Accompanied by a gorgeous instrumental break-down of dark and dreamy guitars with booming synths and waves. For me, this is the best track on the album, because nothing past this point was as impactful or as poignant as this track. Not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable album, it was just the stand-out track for me. Follow-up track In This Modern Land is alt-rock at it’s finest, a beautiful strummy guitar riff with high synths and bombastic drums, “I saw reflections of a conscience in collapse” Jack Bourth wails over the top of a culmination of sounds and trumpets with a slow fade out to end an incredibly impressive track. Blame is the slower track for the album beginning with a dark and sombre lonesome guitar that’s very atmospheric underneath Bourth’s deep vocals, it should be noted that in this track particularly Bourth finds layers to his vocals, a trend in this album, he definitely has expanded upon his range and has an incredibly talented voice. This tracks slow build up that ends with a flurry of drums and synths and high vocals is haunting as it fades into the next instrumental track April 18th. What follows are some standard and at times dull tracks in Decision Fatigue, Kingdom and Pride (the horn section should definitely be noted here, it is very refined). Decision Fatigue and Kingdom definitely feel like B-sides and drop the tone of the album, losing the emotion and consistency of what the first three tracks set out. Amongst these is the lead single Blood, which definitely holds itself up against Joan. A slow start that hits you hard the minute the tracks chorus’ beat enters the song. It’s fast paced, it doesn’t hold up, and the repetition of the line “I’m the one that wants your blood” isn’t lazy, it is just so damn catchy. Closer Echoes in Blue is a wonderfully constructed track, the percussion in this tune is very impressive and therapeutic, alongside the soft guitars, synth and echoed vocals, it is a soft closing to what is a very emotionally charged album. It is the nice closer to the album, it’s blissful yet so morose all at the same time. Echoes in Blue is what you would expect from a City Calm Down album, it doesn’t disappoint production wise, or level of polish, what it does lack is consistency though, with an opening track like Joan, I’m Disappearing the tone is set, yet it is never brought back to that moment it captured at the start. They are no doubt incredibly talented, and there are some downright incredible pieces of music on here, let’s just hope they don’t get lost in the similar sounds of the lesser tracks. To sum it up, Echoes in Blue is masterfully constructed that has it’s stand out moments which I’ve mentioned, yet a fall in the middle does not ruin the overall experience of an enjoyable listen. 3.5/5

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