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8 out of 10
I saw This City supporting Rival Schools a while back and I spent the entire set trying to work out if I liked them or not so when this album popped up on the review list I thought I would give them another shot to impress this cynical twenty something.
First of all this has been released via Epitaph which was a smidge shocking on first look, once the home to acts like Bad Religion, NOFX, Pennywise, Lagwagon and the like now seems to be a breeding ground for average English metal and identikit post rock bands like Bring Me The Horizon, Gallows, The Blackout and You Me At Six. So Brett if you are reading this, sort it out sunshine.
So I would imagine at this point you are expecting me to hate it and rip it apart? Well you would be wrong, I don't hate it but at the same time I don't love any of it enough for it to grab me and make me a fan. It has all the right ingredients, the pop element of The Automatic, the indie bits straight from Forward Russia! jerkiness from Blood Brothers and the emo sensibilities of Braid which as a list seems awesome to me at least but somehow it doesn't mix into something exciting. It starts off well enough, like you would expect but I spent the next 34.4 minutes waiting for it to step up a gear, it avoids a few clichés quite well, no pointless out of place shouting by the member of the band they have allowed to grow a beard (all of the bands that shoe horn themselves into this genre have one, check it out) and at times dips into some ska-esque riffs which were nice. The vocals are sometimes quite whiny and annoying but at the same time somehow appealing and have a nice homely English twinge about them. There is no great deviation in the sound throughout the album, seemingly sticking with something they view as tried and tested rather than taking a risk with any of it which will keep the skinny jean fan base happy but won't make them any new friends.
I have listened to this album three times now and I am still clueless as to whether I like them or at least see them as a guilty pleasure or if they are just going to get filed in my iTunes under ZZZZZZZZZZ, nothing is jumping out at me to latch onto but I doubt I'm the cliental they are being pushed toward since I'm allowed out past 9:00 and don't have to sneak cider in the park.
OK I'm going to get off the fence, in the words of Paul Daniels "I like this band, but not a lot" but I'm sure they will make the next step, they deserve it just based on the amount of massive tours they are advertised on I would like to see them take some risks at some point as they are all talented musicians and could do so much more with their sound.
1. We Move
2. Black and Blue
3. With Loaded Guns
5. Picture This
6. No Hero
7. Moving parts
9. Kids With Fireworks