CityCop/Les Doux - Family Ties/Labors of Love
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Record Label: Flannel Gurl/Sea of Tranquility
Pairing up for a split that is both cathartic and quite varied in its sonic approach, CityCop and Les Doux certainly take different paths to their expression of emotion on Family Ties/Labors of Love. While you might know a bit more about CityCop from their previous EP Seasons, Les Doux are about just as removed from their last work Dialects. Still, whether you enjoy strong musicianship, Wave bands or emotionally tugging jams, this is a split that shows progression and growth on both sides – making this an honest, yet pretty fun split as your ears weave through the various textures and tones its two collaborators present.
CityCop’s side of the split starts with the short, but sweet “Family Ties” – a song that shows a primarily aggressive side as far as the acoustic-core term is concerned. But as fast as that track is over, the slower plucks of melody that front “The Rain Song” trance us into a lush state of affairs. Still, the band’s furious strumming and blistering drumming shines through here even in the quite serene melodic tapestry this song holds up in the forefront. The third track though, “Hospital Beds”, returns for a moment to a much more upbeat and pushing vibe through shouting, strained vocals and relentless guitars – morphing eventually into a slower, deliberate stomper full of twang and catharsis. Though their side is incredibly short, and arguably a bit simpler than anything on Seasons, it’s quite easy to really get into these three tracks regardless of whether or not you enjoyed the different vibes that CityCop showed on that EP. It turns out, the slight towards ferocity a times unleashes some truly intense moments as a whole, while giving us different, but just as thought out melodically-based passages to even things out.
Les Doux on the other hand channels a style of post-hardcore ripe with melodic teetering and impressive percussion to sound out their sound. While I’m quite willing to compare them to Comadre or perhaps La Dispute at times, their less straightforward writing and aggressive edge at times beckons me to say otherwise. “Silver Creek” pushes the tempo for some driving post-hardcore with strong guitar and bass work, though the flow of the song feels a bit disjointed at times, especially moving into the middle area that seemingly just feels like another song all together. However, “Kingsbridge Blues” shows a heap of bluesy influence on a slow burning track topped with a strong command of the pulse it carries through the instruments. It gives an ample spotlight to the vocals, which are pretty heart-tugging at times, whether the guitars are strumming along or punching at full-tilt. It’s arguably the strongest of Les Doux’s three tracks, as the semi-distorted strums of “Stomaching Loss” don’t seem to quite pack the emotional punch and velocity of the other two songs. Still, Les Doux’s side shows some good promise and a strong flash of emotion to make them a band you’ll want to give some further listening to.
In short, both bands make strong impressions on those who’ve never heard them before, all while keeping things from getting monotonous or run together. While not without some shortcomings, Les Doux and CityCop make noted strides in their songwriting, and are sure to leave an impression on those who maybe not be overly familiar with their previous work. If you aren’t – consider this a great starting point.