Friday, April 13, 2012

Album Review: With Fire


Title:  With Fire (BandCamp, Amazon, iTunes)
Artist:  The Small Cities (Official, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, BandCamp, ReverbNation, Last.fm)

Hailing from the Twin Cities, The Small Cities are an indie rock / power pop band driven by pop melodies and strong harmonies.  The band’s full-length debut, With Fire, is a testament to the often under appreciated use of strong melodies and harmonies.  For a long time I really couldn’t put my finger on The Small Cities’ sound.  I was hearing elements on British indie pop, American indie rock, and power pop but it wasn’t until I was listening to With Fire again this morning and got to “Laughter Song” that it hit me—Guided By Voices.  The Small Cities, especially in their vocals, sound like Guided By Voices long lost little brothers.  There is also a very health dose of The Beatles on With Fire, making this a record that fans of both indie rock and power pop should adore.  Thematically the band covers the tried and true topics of love, youth, and religion although if it wasn’t for the fact that the band posted the lyrics on the website, I probably wouldn’t have known.  This is not a criticism of the band by any stretch.  For whatever reason, unless I’m following along with a lyric sheet, I often have a hard time picking out the specific words in a song, especially with an artist that I’m new to.  The Small Cities vocals have a very breathy and spacey quality to them, which help to make some really beautiful harmonies, but sadly don’t help me in trying to understand what they are saying (I really should get my hearing checked one of these days).  One thing’s for sure, The Small Cities are a band with a lot of promise and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

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