In a restless house with City Calm Down

In a restless house

with City Calm Down

By Ian Browne Shamrock News

As for 2016, well my favourite albums were the newbies for The Jezabels, Robot Koch, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the charming young Londoner - Lianne La Havas. Mastered in Sydney, and recorded in Melbourne, the CD that I never tire of, one that sends me to euphoric-nostalgia, is City Calm Down’s ‘In a restless house.’

A sound that is reminiscent of New Wave, I was hoping to do an interview with the Melbourne 4-piece outfit, and hopefully this will happen down the track. For those of us guilty of living past lives, while getting to know this album: The Doors, The Cure, perhaps Peter Murphy, hints of Simple Minds, enigmatic James Freud, early New Order, and some say Bowie, are all apparent and savoured.

City Calm Down are a popular live act who enjoyed further fame during the 1st week of November, 2016, being Triple J’s feature album. In The AU REVIEW (Nov.2016), singer Jack Bourke described the challenge of replicating the emotions from this CD during live acts, where they toured Sydney and Melbourne with a two-piece horn section to enhance their performance.

“If you’re looking for forgiveness, I don’t care, if you’re begging for forgiveness, then I’m scared”Your fix reminding many of The Cure’s In Between Days or Just Like Heaven; brooding, but rising, it’s a very worthwhile indie-pop tune. For those who find solace in the shadows, post- punk-80’s goth devotees will love the raw energy of falling and until I get by. And there is no getting around this, the completely Joy Division industrial humming bass lines of border on control and rabbit run, like most of the songs on this CD, hard to resist playing once again before moving on further into the musical voyage.

Vocalist Jack Bourke has such a great voice. Where Azam Ali and Hayley Mary are among my favourite female singers, I have always been drawn to the deep masculine, dark romantics tones, driven by uplifting, love-binding synth-riffs, and goth-twirling guitar rhythm. Energetic drumming keeps you entwined within the motion of the moment, where nothing is contagious to the extravagance, no boasting held to account. Though they are more flamboyant and sociable live, the sound they birth on this album is delivered ‘just right’, and on so many levels.

I heard their live performance during Splendour in the Grass, on Triple J, their tribute to Bowie’s Let’s Dance faultless! For the today, in wandering, one-time Federal resident, Muse Agency’s Dane Tucqet, ‘appears’ to lure us into the dark. But it’s not him of course. The younger generation who have caught them at festival locations, such as the Byron Bay Parklands on two occasions, know them as their own, tickled with subliminal whispers emanating from their parent’s vinyl collection.

Kerri Harvey’s vocals and “All it takes is a slip of a knife, they’ll bring me your head on a stick!” - such stark revelations of nowhere to start - reminds me of the wind-swept caress of indie 80’s to early 90’s, yet very much belonging to today’s generation. Showing their talent and maturity strident within the song in a restless house, the emotion is both beautiful and bold, such a splendid song, and monsieur Bourke’s voice a rouge-jewel in the Australian indie-landscape.

“You said I won’t survive, the age we’re in, at least I’ve tried!”…I just wonder where they will head to next. How will their sound grow? And will the rest of the world beg for all this too? They must! For mine, and your generation, they have a passionate, wistfully dark sound that keeps us all feeling young, and that can’t be too foul now can it…

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