Cities

Cities

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In 2006 any label that wanted to survive had to have a post-punk revival group on their roster. Even though their main strengths are artist rehab (Paul Weller, the Go-Betweens, Nick Lowe) and rootsy groups like Southern Culture on the Skids, Yep Roc went out and found themselves Cities, a North Carolina quartet that falls firmly into the post-punk revival category. Post-punk with a large dose of '90s alternative thrown in as well, Cities sound like they take their cues from bands like Interpol and the Walkmen rather than the bands that originated the post-punk sound -- not that it really matters where you draw you inspiration if the finished product is compelling. And while Cities are inoffensive (their songs are often melodic enough, the vocals are impassioned without being overly dramatic for the most part, and the guitars make all the right noises in the right spots) and even sometimes interesting ("Headstream"), one thing they are not is compelling. The performances just aren't strong enough to break through the flat production, the songs begin to run together halfway through, and you can't escape the feeling that somewhere along the line the bandmembers made the calculated decision to showcase a post-punk sound because it would get them signed. True or not, that's the impression the record leaves. It makes truly enjoying the record very difficult, as does the fact that there are so many bands treading similar ground that do it with much more style.

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