Probably my favourite EP of 2012, everything City Dweller touched had a timeless quality. From the muscular drum blasts to the lyrics, both upliftingly heartfelt and cynically bitter. City Dweller are a band that never received the recognition they were due and will be sorely missed by the few that took notice.
Favorite track: I Will Become Unique.
Mourning holds the hands of these words, as having made it past their first birthday, the needle on City Dweller is lifted, cut short, and they nestle down in to the detritus of late bands. Their headstone reads ‘I Will Become Unique’, and the gathered assembly, who had the foresight and pleasure of possessing their superlative punk rock in their lives, nod in agreement with that assertive sentiment, and disperse. But despite the grief, what they leave behind is the best guilty inheritance fund London’s impoverished rock ‘n’ roll population needs to create a wealth with; a rich Revolution Summer. Rites of Spring are present here, the Minneapolis kings Replacements appear, but it’s the imposing ambition which dwarves individual ‘scene’ comparisons. The cheesewire licks and furious Costello yelps could and should slice the Achilles of The Libertines market, equally, sit outside of a slightly smashed CD case in a generation of lucky adolescents’ bedrooms, getting scratched more with every adoring play. Or, or, as it will most likely be heading, a coveted slice of uniquely flavoured, superb rock, limited enough for collectors to battle over copies of. Regardless, this EP exists, and will be released posthumously on December 10th on Regicide Records.
‘I Will Become Unique’ rolls in with the eponymous statement, unearthing the sunny, other side of the coin to Husker Du’s Pink Turns To Blue, sliding from car radio passages – the type to set the tone for a long journey, hastily bootlegged cassettes of Manic Street Preachers and R.E.M - to the suitably opposite end of the scale, that of reeling drum pummel, and an aggressive breeding. UK hardcore fans, you will find more than a hint of Tremors (the two bands share guitar and drum duty), and the cannoning percussion siphons so well in to a pop-derived format, and not to use these words lightly but, in the same manner as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. The gang of burly basslines that dominated the first demo are toned down a tad, sacrificing Propagandhish, segmented funk sections for a sense of mature songwriting and continuity, but thankfully the steady treble of the unique backing vocals prevails, keeping a harmonic mean amongst erratic howls. Punishment and delight fuel this record, gyrating through a Fugazi-sized dream in closer ‘Light’, detonating what is known as pop-punk in the brief assault of ‘Memo’.
The severity of their podium position whips up ever more enjoyment with repeated listens, the intricacies layer up, the whole package becomes a tightly wrapped product, but there are enough anchors attached to a hardcore background to root this in the sphere of the real people. It is a shame that no more noise will come from City Dweller, as they let your imagination run away, a quality which their contemporaries fall short of through no fault of their own – apologies to you, Little Ease, Plaids. Additional apologies if you happen to glean very little from the overview of this frankly unknown record. Good. Listen to it with your own ears.