An atmospheric delve into balance, City Calm Down discuss the things you missed trying to sate life’s hurdles in new LP Echoes In Blue.
I can count on one hand the days I’ve actually enjoyed my job, job. God knows given the chance to write full time, I’d have no qualms throwing the steel caps at my boss and never looking back. One can’t help but wonder what they’ve missed in pursuit of the weekend – a scary thought – thanks, City Calm Down.
With conflict between band responsibilities and personal relationships playing catalyst, Echoes in Blue is a thorough, personal and utterly experienced body of work.
Obviously there are things far more precious than construction, one being the attention to your love, and that’s what vocalist Jack Bourke ponders throughout Echoes In Blue.
The crowning jewel for City Calm Down is Bourke’s vocals. I don’t need to tell you it’s got character, and it’s with this authority that the band explore their divided subject matter.
Joan, I’m Disappearing, is an ‘eyes-shut and float’ album opener. First line “It turned to shit on April 18″ is somewhat jarring against the accompanying instrumentation, but its delivery juxtaposes and then accentuates Bourke’s raw sentiment. The song builds beside his confidence, an empathetic brooding taking place throughout.
The song crescendos with “I fenced our love… now I’m disappearing”; the fault is his and the guilt rots his presence.
It ends in a somewhat cosmic state, which is very indicative of what’s to follow on the album. But the cosmos is big, real big; big enough to get lost in – and at times during the first half of this record Bourke’s message gets a little obscured amongst the height of it all.
The airy synths that helped shape the band’s early success are used in high rotation this time around, and fair enough. Still, Bourke’s authority begins to waver beneath another crescendo, and then another. Its affect is to seem ethereal, however, I found myself floating away from sections entirely.
There are moments of true beauty, April 18 into Decision Fatigue being one, but it wasn’t until the chorus of Blood that the soaring melodies enter our own atmosphere, somewhere familiar and grounding. The guitars finally give way to some grunt as spacious synths take a step back for you to find yourself listening again.
“I’m the one who wants your blood”, follows the instrumental, regaining simplicity and punch in both the lyrics and their delivery.
What follows is the elegance of Bourke’s voice on I Heard Nothing From You, gushing with experience (not-to-mention some hooky “whoo-oos” that my housemates won’t stop singing). The track is poised though delicate; you believe this heart-broken voice has really been there before, so you listen – it’s the tone that was lost earlier on.
The remainder of the album keeps this engaging balance with Pride and title track Echoes in Blue. Although the closing track floats back into space, it gives Bourke some breathing room to expel and lament. Perhaps longer length better suits their approach.
Opting to fly a lot higher than debut In a Restless House, City Calm Down provide a vehicle for a fragile substance that we’re all accustomed to. Yes, the work/love balance is heavily trodden territory, but the band has crafted its own intergalactic discussion.
The woozy surges on this record hit like a narcotic, they slow you down and open the floodgates for self-consideration. Don’t take it for granted; reflect and make time for a proper trip through this spellbinding experience.
Fri 8 June- The Tivoli, Brisbane
Sat 9 June- The Gov, Adelaide
Fri 15 June – The Forum, Melbourne
Sat 16 June- Metropolis, Fremantle
Thurs 21 June – Bar On The Hill, Newcastle
Fri 22 June – Metro Theatre, Sydney