The collective includes quite the sizable band: guitar, electric bass, upright bass, piano, drums, saxophone, flute, trumpet, and several vocalists. All under the direction of composer Gideon King, they released last month a new album entitled City Blog.
The mostly mid-tempo tracks are similar in the tone and mood they set and yet completely different both in the details they contain and the emotions they evoke. Dissonant notes kick off the title track which seems to come together around the slide of an electric guitar. At once one is struck by the detailed and quality performance of each contribution to the song, be it the breathy vocals, the dynamic and indefatigable piano, and the soft, yet solid drums. The attention brought to the contribution of each element to this number is something that is consistently carried through the entire album.
What sets each song apart from one another are the vocalists, for the most part. From the breathy male vocals in the opening title number and “See in Double” to the duet between the more baritone male vocals and the crystalline power of the female ones in “New York Is”, to the warmer ones in “Friendship Cliché”, each vocalist sets a major defining taste to each of the album’s compositions.
The way the songs are put together makes emotions particularly shine through to the listener. Of particular note is the softer, almost gentle ballad-like “See in Double” in which the male vocal’s call that it is “freezing cold” makes you want to throw a door open for him, if not make him a hot drink. Perhaps it’s because of the delicately plucked piano, the soft guitars or the smooth drums; perhaps it is because of the horn-led instrumental section at the one-third mark that begs of warmth, coming in sharp contrast with said freezing cold.
Attention is given throughout the album to lyrics, nowhere more than in “Down”, which is in a way a reflection on the state of the music industry and happens to be by far the longest track on City Blog, clocking in almost seven and a half minutes. Kicking off with “It’s not that simple/But it shouldn’t be hard/To put down in writing/What’s in your heart,” the song takes a gentle but direct jab at the vapidity of popular music today, within that more singer-songwriters would produce music like that of “Evans and Schofield, Aretha and Bono” since they at least “Go deeper/Nothing borrowed”.
City Blog offers listeners a quality listening experience through 10 meticulously crafted songs that seem to have bloomed and blossomed to the outermost limits they could have been capable of. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about the group is available on both their Facebook page and Twitter account.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.
First published on Blogcritics.