CityCop - Seasons
Record Label: Flannel Gurl Records
Release Date: June 26, 2012 (Physical)
Better late than never is the saying. While the vinyl release is some six odd months later, CityCop is finally seeing that happen to their latest release Seasons, an EP that while aptly named and described both by its titles and tracks is an prime example of fluidity and artistic drive. You can try to describe what bands CityCop takes its cue from, primarily you’ll hear Cap’n Jazz and Caravels for starters, but what makes Seasons resonate musically lies in impressive musicianship that seeps emotional through its five movements. I would be willing to say CityCop is not a band everyone will have a similar experience with, but from a musicianship and creativity standpoint Seasons is something worth delving into regardless of what band you might think of where you hear it.
In just shy of twenty minutes, the five tracks of Seasons take us through an appropriately facaded journey of textures and timbres, whether its the breakneck start of “Summer” or the solemn, lyrically repetitive opener “Bluebird”. The latter is a mellow opener at first with a restrained twang and jazzy percussion – it puts a proper focus on something it would be easy to dog this band on, the vocals. As an introductory track of sorts, “Bluebird” uses its two minutes to set us up for everything CityCop brings to the table on this EP. On one side, the band boasts passionate vocals surely reminiscent of La Dispute, blistering acoustic guitars and likewise drumming. Other times, they hold back while creating honest melodies that don’t strip away the technical side of things. It’s really all about the shifts from point to point, which for the most part is done with complimentary movements to help reset the listener for what is to come. “Spring” is a prime example of this, adding and subtracting throughout before settling on something particularly less compress with admittedly much more lasting results. “Summer” is feverish and relentless in its uptempo push to near technical oblivion, while “Fall” almost has a Spanish guitar flair to its tone throughout, again boasting the separation between tracks – a feat which is particularly difficult to do when things change as much as they do on Seasons.
Yet how impressive musically Seasons tends to be, there are points in the songwriting where the band could surely subtract a bit more. Often a bit too dense at times to truly get a grasp of all the rather intricate work going on, it could be a number of things that makes Seasons just a bit too much at times. Vocally, the band is going to be hit or miss with a good chunk of people who give this EP a chance. While certainly not far from a number of bands doing screamo these days in the Topshelf camp, it at the very least seems pretty streamlined and decipherable compared to some of the bands CityCop could fall in comparison to. And in reality, that makes a bit more sense than leaning on something much more gritty in terms of the shout/scream considering the fact we are technically listening to an incarnation of an acoustic act here.
All in all, Seasons is impressive and dense in a time where it seems like you need to have a reason to stand out to the people listening to your music. It is rather jarring at first, but with a few listens, Seasons shows itself more and more as something to be both embraced and understood in all of its acoustic-core glory. Whether it’s the technical ability or the flat out passion Seasons displays, CityCop is surely worth taking a listen to regardless of the season.
I back these guys hard. Definitely have a wide variety of stuff going on, and I think they're doing something that not many have done before with the acoustic/posthardcore/screamo thing. I hope more people check this out and their first album, The Hope In Forgiving & Giving Up Hope.