Friday, 24 May 2019

CityCop - Nesh REVIEW

Very few bands in recent history have carved out a truly unique niche like Akron, Ohio's CityCop have. Since their inception in 2010, they have blended together a plethora of sounds and genres to create something that is completely their own. After a slew of solid releases, they are finally back with the follow-up to 2017's fantastic The Same Stories That Never Get Old with the five-track EP Nesh, which is out today on the newly-formed Little Elephant Records.

The title track opens the record up, with a flurry of intricate yet flowing rhythms, with their distinct acoustic guitar seamlessly switching between smooth jazz chords, arpeggios and furious noodling. Their forlorn vocals carve out melodic passages for the first half of the song, the kind that are just begging to be shouted along to. They pull in the heavy punches in the latter half, with a ton of hard-hitting syncopation, screamed vocals, and this harrowing bass tone that solidifies the emotional gut-punch. The band's blend of post-hardcore, math rock and emo influences mesh together in this duality of unique complexity and subtle familiarity, which is exactly what makes them stand out so much, and why this opener is a killer introduction to what's to follow.

"Get Well" is a brilliant tension-builder, starting off on a crescendo before falling in to an instrumental where every member is firing on all cylinders. The tightness through these passages is immensely impressive, and the vocals recall the best of Anthony Green's performances. The heavy acoustic strumming is heavenly, creating a harmonious space amidst the emotionally-driven chaos. The third track, "Hindsight" acts as an instrumental guitar interlude. It relies just as much on the space between notes as the notes themselves to provide a nice break and perfect segue into the next half of the album.

"2020" opens up with the guitar work duelling between melody and dissonance, before the whole band kicks in. The drum work flows effortlessly while the bass knocks out heavy hits of syncopation, providing a sinister tone to the choir of backing vocals. Speaking of vocals, one of the best things about this band/album are the shouts that break up the singing into a near-scream, but always pulling back before exploding full-throttle. This track exemplifies that fantastically, where the vocals assist in the rise-and-fall tension the instrumental emits.

Finally, to close it out we have "Flatline". This track is initially deceiving, because it sets itself up as the poppiest song here, and then immediately curbs that expectation with the most violent vocal eruption and first instance of blast beats on this entire record. We get the heaviest and most cathartic outburst to close off the album, with those earworm melodic vocals in the midst of the song to balance out the mix.

Overall, this could be CityCop's finest work to date (and that is saying a lot). Picking standout tracks is near-impossible, but if I absolutely had to, I would say "Nesh" and "Flatline" floored me the most, but every track offers something different yet equally solid. They're a band who continue to impress with a plethora of influences coming together to create one sound that can only be referred to as "CityCop". Nesh is available today from Little Elephant Records. You can check out the video for the lead single "Nesh" below, as well as pick up the 7".

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