CityCop - The Hope In Forgiving & Giving Up Hope
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: January 2, 2011
CityCop are a four-piece band based out of Ashtabula, Ohio. Playing a wholly unique concoction of sound, incorporating indie, screamo, punk, and emo influences, CityCop's style might be aptly described as a punkier mixture of Cap'n Jazz and Caravels. Though currently unsigned, guitarist/vocalist Max Adams, vocalist Eddie Gancos, bassist Duncan Treen, and drummer Cody Mikesell tour quite often throughout the Ohio/Pennsylvania area. The Hope In Forgiving & Giving Up Hope is their debut full length and is available on Bandcamp for a mere $5.
How Is It?
Incredible. Cathartic. Emotional. There are no throwaway tracks -- each song flows beautifully into the next, yet the album does not become muddled because of this. The songs complement each other in such a way that, while they are not too haphazardly individualistic, they are still distinguishable.
Musically, Adams' acoustic guitar work is strong and complex throughout, most notably in album closer "Street Kings", which contains some extremely technical runs and riffs. Mikesell delivers punky, fast beats, showcased to perfection in "Hold Onto Your Seat, Syanne", in which he even throws in some double bass work, and bassist Treen shows off definitive skill in "White Roses", particularly just past the midpoint of the song.
However, Gancos' vocals are the cherry on top of a delicious proverbial musical banana split. Alternating between hoarse hardcore barks, higher-pitched yells, and clean vocals vaguely reminiscent of Mike Kinsella, Gancos consistently delivers solid, meaningful performances, assisted by Adams' additional screamed vocals.
Perhaps the only downside to the album is the lyrics which sometimes border on overly-clichéd teenage angst. However, a majority of the time the lyrics are actually quite good, exemplified by the lines "If humanity can't forgive what happens next/Then what's the point of a book on life?/A glorified text" from "Go West".
More than anything though, the album succeeds because of the interesting dynamic between the acoustic guitar lines and often harsh vocals. This contrast separates CityCop from other bands operating in the emo/screamo genre and accentuates the emotion of the album, proving that bands do not need distorted guitars to compose heartfelt tracks. Hopefully, CityCop continue to push themselves to compose authentic music and garner more notice outside of their local scene. They certainly have the talent to do so.
Sidenote: The album artwork by Blade Birch is deserving of special recognition. One of the best cover designs on an album in recent memory.
2. Ode to Bula/Flight Lessons
3. Free Bird Part II
4. Humanity Is Sinking
5. Hink Hall
6. Go West
8. Hold Onto Your Seat, Syanne
9. White Roses
10. Street Kings