Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Album Review: City Of The Weak - Pulling Teeth

We all have our weaknesses. For me, one of them is certainly pop/rock bands with female singers. Maybe I'm getting soft as I get older, or maybe I'm just sick to death of guys barking like morons when they should be singing, but several of my favorite albums in recent years fit this mold, and I'm always prone to giving a chance to anyone who can be the next one in the line. There are several more such releases on schedule for later this year, so City Of The Weak serves as a sort of prequel to those records. But that isn't to discount their chances.

The album starts off with "Like I Do", where we get some staccato pop/punk riffing through the verses, followed by a chorus that brings a lovely melody. Stef's voice is a touch lower, and definitely less piercing than many of the women I hear in these bands. It sets the band apart a bit, and it also makes the music sound a hair darker, both of which are good things. It's easy for this style to push too hard, to become a bit too bright, where it loses some of the teeth that makes it the perfect combination. City Of The Weak stays on the right side of that line, without fail.

Later, on "Glad You Could Make It", the band gets heavier as they throw in a couple of slick guitar riffs that border on being metal. They're still tempered by a bouncing chorus that roots the song in accessibility, which is exactly what they should be doing. Making a song catchy is one of the hardest things a songwriter can do, and it often gets a bad reputation from rock and metal fans who don't understand the entire point of writing music is for people to remember it. Otherwise, why bother?

"Not This Time" is the first single, sitting in the middle of the record, and it might be the quintessential song here. Chugging guitars give the verses heft, and the chorus has Stef soaring more than any of the other tracks. Her melodies are melodic and catchy, but come with a slight undertone of melancholy, which I love. It's a bit more subtle, and not smashing you in the face. You can try so hard to be pop that it loses its effectiveness. That is not the case here at all.

The whole of this record is highly engaging pop/rock that does what this kinds of music is supposed to. It's lively, it's catchy, and it's a soundtrack for a good time. The only complaint I have is that the record is only 31 minutes, including a two minute instrumental. It would have been better with an extra song or two to give us more time together, but what is here is certainly good enough. I may be biased toward enjoying this style more than many, but "Pulling Teeth" is a good record regardless of that. This record came as a surprise, and it's a welcome one.

No comments:

Post a Comment