The City On Film

La Vella

Written by: LF on 30/12/2014 20:40:52

I have not been a Braid fan for very long but it also doesn't take a long time to fall in love with vocalist Bob Nanna's characteristic, emotional voice. Because of that it didn't take me too long to find out that the man is active in a number of musical projects, one of these being his solo project dubbed The City On Film. He recently released his second album under this name and on it he is backed by friends Kyle Geib and Seth Engel whom he also plays with under the moniker Lifted Bells.

As an indie rock project with emo tendencies, The City On Film is at times not too different from Braid, and as the album kicks off with "You Wild Thing (An Illuminous Life)" it feels like I'm listening to a bonus track from Braid's recent album "No Coast". This is only further evident in album highlights "Remember to Breathe" and "Kill It!" that are both up-beat and noisy, but also melodic songs with guitars that seem to playfully bolt wherever they want in the background while Nanna's unmistakable light vocals swirl on top of them with catchy melodies. Of course there's a difference in that the only vocalist here is Nanna, as opposed to in Braid where the dynamic between him and Chris Broach is a part of the band's charm. Luckily Nanna's warm, melodic and tentative voice has depth enough on its own and can be frantic and sharp at times, only to turn into the softest thing imaginable the next moment. The latter mostly happens in the calm, acoustic track "Stray", which takes the pace down beautifully between the two above mentioned tracks, and in "Andorra La Vella" that ends the album with floating cellos and gets me every time with the blue way Nanna intimately sings "Why does my body feel the need to float up and away?".

It's especially in quieter tracks like the acoustic ones that the singer-songwriter qualities of The City On Film shine through and make the overall album a satisfyingly different experience from "No Coast". The drowsy and monotonous "I Blindly" deserves a mention here as well as it keeps surprising me by being oddly hypnotic, especially through the delicate harmonies in its chorus. Even as the songs vary in quality across the record, cuts like the insistingly building "Take the Ghosts" and the sweet, love-themed "Easy Living Rooms" are not far behind the already mentioned songs, both having recognizable, playful riffs that are not the best of the record but still good enough to make you groove along whenever they come on. As such, while not remarkable in any big way, this is a great album to cozy up with inside in this cold season.

Download: Remember to Breathe, Kill It!, Andorra La Vella, I Blindly
For The Fans Of: Braid, American Football, Hey Mercedes, Lifted Bells

Release date 16.12.2014
Topshelf Records

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