Review: City Calm Down – Television

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City Calm Down create a musically rich, high-energy album that encourages the listener to reflect.

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City Calm Down are back with their third album, to be released August 23rd, following on from 2018’s Echoes in Blue.  The Australian four-piece combine genres in this upcoming release, which comes together to make Television, a deep musical analysis of the current media-driven society in which we live.  While there is obvious inspiration from the world of post-punk, Television has a unique indie freshness and a direct message that makes it such a compelling album.

Opening track ‘Television’ starts the album on a high note, beginning slow and distant using guitars laden with effects before bursting into an upbeat anthem that explores society’s relationship with the media.  It’s a perfect start to the album, with frontman Jack Bourke’s high-energy vocals setting the tone for an exciting record.  The title track is one of the album’s catchier songs; it’s memorable, and I can imagine that it translates well into the band’s live shows.

Following this, ‘Visions of Graceland’ starts us off with a slower intro.  The lyrics are complemented with synth and guitars, a representation of how musically rich Television is by combining instruments and vocals to create harmonious music.  This track is expertly crafted, and well-produced, without overshadowing the passion and emotion of the band.

A true highlight of Television is ‘Stuck (On The Eastern)’, in which lyrics take centre stage.  Opening with “Another year of indecision / you’ve been following straight lines”, the words resonates with the listener – the intention of this album is to make us reflect on how we live our lives.  This continues in the powerful chorus with “You’re in control / You feel alive / When all you do is just survive”.  It’s heavy stuff, that can catch you off guard within such an upbeat sound.  Tracks ‘Flight’ and ‘Weatherman’ change the tone slightly, with the focus shifting to slightly heavier guitar, creating that fresh indie sound that make City Calm Down so enjoyable.  Simple riffs work alongside vocals, never overshadowing the lyrics, but always noticeable in the composition.

Acoustic track ‘A Seat In Trees’ encourages us to slow down amid higher energy, upbeat sounds coming before it.  However, City Calm Down do not simply throw in an acoustic guitar to change it up a bit – synth still plays an important role in this track, along with vocal effects that produce a dreamy, ethereal quality.  The rich musical quality remains consistent, but they still manage to surprise us with this track.

Television ends with ‘Cut the Wires’, one of the album’s longer tracks.  It begins with a gentler acoustic sound, much like ‘A Seat In The Trees’.  It’s lyrically very strong, ending the record with a final reminder of its intention to make us reflect.  The difference between the first and last songs in the album is noticeable, but natural. It takes the listener on a journey, changing up the sound while emphasising the lyrics throughout.

Although Television is short and sweet as an album, City Calm Down have created a musically complex record with their attention to detail when it comes to instruments and lyrics.  There are obvious nods to their musical influences without overshadowing the band’s unique energy that makes Television stand out.  After a few years of success in their home country, this release could bring the band a little more recognition across the water.  They’ve been making their name in the UK in by performing at some of our biggest festivals, and if Television is anything to go by, it’s about time we started paying attention.

City Calm Down’s Television will be out on August 23rd via I OH YOU.

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Records Editor 2019/2020. Second year French and Spanish student. Always going through some kind of music-based phase, frequently crying about The Cure.

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