CD Here Comes a City * (CD 7016170),
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Here Comes a City *
1. Here Comes a City
2. Apocalypse Pop Song
3. I Want the Lights on After Dark
4. Five Loops
5. What Is This Thing Called?
6. I Am the Photographer
9. Way Past Caring
10. M + E = Me
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): A&C060
Tom McFall; Joseph Donovan; Dave Hamelin; Julian Harris Brown; Matthew Brown; Chris Dumont
Personnel: Torquil Campbell (vocals, piano); Chris Dumont (guitar, mandolin, omnichord, synthesizer); Jon Hyde (pedal steel guitar); Erik Hove (flute, saxophone); Matt Watkins (trumpet); Dave Hodge (trombone); Beck Henderer-Pena (Wurlitzer piano); Matt Brown (organ); Julian Harris Brown (vibraphone); Shane Wilson (drums, percussion).
Liner Note Author: Daniel Handler.
Recording information: Montreal, QC; New York, NY; Seattle, WA.
Essentially a companion piece to 2006's A Little Place in the Wilderness, Memphis' 2011 album Here Comes a City is softly glowing bulb of late afternoon melancholy jag-pop. However, where Wilderness featured track-after-track of classicist pop/rock, on City Memphis expands its template of '80s jangle pop and '60s folk rock with some atmospheric instrumental electronic tracks filtered throughout. Once again featuring the singer-songwriting duo of Torquil Campbell and Chris Dumont, the album seems almost like a concept album juxtaposing the life-affirming virtues of country life versus the oppressive nature of city life. Ironically, this seems especially clear if you compare Wilderness' album cover photograph of a large metropolitan city with City's cover shot of a single bare tree clinging to a craggy mountainside. It is also notable that Here Comes a City takes title-inspiration from the Aussie-pop icons The Go-Betweens' song of the same title off 2005's Oceans Apart. In that sense, the album may also draw some favorable comparisons to work by such similarly inclined artists as The Clientele and Teenage Fanclub. Like their contemporaries, Memphis stick to immediately catchy, endlessly evocative and personal songs that draw you in deeper with repeated listens. To these ends, we get tracks like the sparkling "Apocalypse Pop Song" in which the protagonist chooses the day the earth will end so that he and his paramour's love will, "just keep on growing, and no matter what they take away," their, "love will live for one more day." Similarly, the yearning "I Want the Lights On After Dark" has a Lost in Translation-like attention to detail including "Teddy Boys and Harajuku Girls" whose flamboyant presence seems in bittersweet contrast to the lyrics, "So you go out, and you come home again, Tokyo, November 7th 6am. Shibuya dawn, how quiet it is when you are alone like someone always." And, it's clear that in Memphis' world-view of alienating, symmetrical city life someone is always alone and, as in the shimmering, half-spoken electronica mood-piece "Five Loops," turning to "good dope" and living in a, "cave 'til we get right." Ultimately, Here Comes a City and tracks like "Apocalypse Pop Song" are about accepting the things in life you have no power to change and then trying to change your perspective just a bit -- "endless highways turn to fields" -- and though Memphis says it's, "just a way of being here, of doing something with the fear," they've taken that fear and created a gentle pop womb you may just want to stay in until you get right. ~ Matt Collar
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Arts & Crafts (Label) AC 060
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