Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Album Review: "City Lights" by Old Bricks

City Lights by Old Bricks was released on Grip Tapes
on December 20, 2011
Old Bricks are a band that are truly hard to pigeon-hole, their ethereal sounds allow them to soar above the expectations of most and create an expansive soundscape that has a sense of depth to it.  However, while this music feels so grandiose the hushed reverberated vocals from Stuart Edwards give us a bit of a detached feeling from it all, allowing the listener to float around comfortably in the sheer vastness of the music and become enraptured by the sweet tones.  City Lights is the second full length from Old Bricks and has a much more developed sense of direction than Farmers, it's a dissonant record that contains sincerity in volumes which allows you to really sink inside of the sounds that are emanated.

The tracks on City Lights bleed together wonderfully, it's a fantastically composed album that may suffer slightly from this cohesion.  It seems a bit hard to listen to one of the tracks out of context from the others because of how wonderfully they work with one another, but it's safe to assume that one could listen to any given track on City Lights and grasp a pretty solid snapshot of Old Bricks.  There's a bit of disconnected yet shakily sincere elements found in Edwards' vocals that gently glide you through the driving rhythms, complimenting one another perfectly.  Watching Old Bricks perform these tracks live gives a bit more life and vivacity to them, and don't misconstrue that as meaning that City Lights is flat production wise, because it's a wonderful sounding album.  However, having experienced Old Bricks live before a recording it's much easier to be wishful of these tracks' live performance.  That's one of the joys of Old Bricks, not only is the sincerity found in the writing, but when the band is performing these tracks you can almost see the emotion bleeding out of them and pouring into their performance.

The album feels like a distinct Side A and Side B could lend to a much more beneficial listening, as "Untitled I"feels like a nice bridge to gap two standout tracks "Shepard" and "Hill" together.  City Lights is available on LP though, so wink-wink-nudge-nudge maybe you should give that a try.  Track pacing, as previously stated, doesn't suffer too much from this but it would be interesting to see the album truncated into two separate experiences as this album certainly lends itself to such.  All in all Old Bricks has created another harrowing and expansive piece of work that can send its listeners into a trance-like state.  Old Bricks tows the line between cutting into the core of you and straying away from your emotions so finely, the passion pours out of their music in abundance but their sound doesn't really allow you to become enamored in this feeling but rather to embrace it and enjoy it for what it is.  City Lights is an album that you can let flow through you, it crawls around and toys with your emotions but doesn't pick them up and toss them around.  The beauty of Old Bricks lies in their subtlety, you can sit by and take it all in without even knowing or noticing that this band has got you standing at attention and waiting oh so anxiously for that next crescendo or dulcet tone.

Old Bricks will also be subject to our next You Should Know Session in early March.  Keep your eyes peeled for more news on a date for this exciting session!  Old Bricks is a band I've had my eye on in the Triangle for quite some time, so I hope you're all as stoked on this session as I am.

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