Artist of the week: Cities
Uninspired and unmotivated, I drag myself from the cosy confines of the bed on a dreary morning (it's wonderfully sunny, but a Monday is by default always dreary, regardless), and, through a caffeine-less narcosis, sit down at the computer to reply to a mounting backlog of emails that I've been consistently procrastinating over.
Forlorn and with no idea where to start, I turn to the records and whap out a dishevelled looking 12" copy of Cities' debut EP, Manning Alaska. Aside from the obvious musical magic contained within, I start to wonder in my tired daze - in the light of this record still tracking after the many hundreds (read; thousands) of times I've played it since that one fateful evening in Mozarts, Swansea - whether the enduring and seemingly immortal nature of the vinyl qualifies this 12" as potentially the most enduring and rugged record ever pressed by human hands.
There are few artists that I can't speak more highly of, and Cities are one.
From the driving, opening drone of Clozapine, to the wonderfully understated closing of Callisto, with its sweeping, filtered work down, the musicians work their magic, pulling you in, pushing you around, moving with them through their musical soundscapes.
Their live shows are dizzying. Rarely do you encounter a band that work tirelessly and unerringly as a single unit, and Cities are exemplars of the most tight performances around. Each show is played to a backdrop of animation and graphics provided by photographer John Wellings' creation that propels you through a colourful, mysterious narrative that perfectly synergises with the band.
The EP is masterfully produced, nowhere does it feel cluttered or over-busy, each nuance is given life and detail in the mix while the tracks themselves are unconvoluted, perfectly structured and just on that fine side of self-indulgent that makes a musical experience truly special.
This is twilight poetry of the finest calibre.
Written by Joe Bayliss