Driving On City Sidewalks

Where Angels Crowd To Listen EP

Written by: PP on 05/08/2009 18:34:31

I've been handed a bunch of releases falling directly in, or at least very close to, the post-rock scene, which out of all the possible music scenes is probably the one which I have the least knowledge about. Sure, I know the essential bands like Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai and The Appleseed Cast, all of whom Driving On City Sidewalks reference with their dreamy sound on "Where Angels Crowd To Listen EP", but as a whole I find the extended musical arrangements with little to no vocal work excessively boring and pointless. Our scribe DR is going to hate me for saying this, but honestly, post-rock songs all too often tend to just progress forward slowly until a point where they just fade out without anything even resembling a climax in the process. Pretentious is one word to use when describing the genre, and directionless is another.

Sure, Driving On City Sidewalks are able to create magnificent, if not outright majestic soundscapes out of very little. The light guitars are strummed gently, and the silent croon of their vocalist provides the EP with a distinct indie rock feel. The instrumental arrangements as a whole are enormous, often extending past the five minute mark thanks to the dreadfully slow pace which, at times, makes me think funeral doom bands play faster. Now that's fine as long as there's some candy for the ears in the mix, which the title track "Where Angels Crowd To Listen" nicely demonstrates. The guitars here are just a tad bit brighter than elsewhere, and the vocalist utilizes rising and falling vocals scales that fit in well with the quiet/loud instrumental dynamic present in the song, where guitars and drums ascend and descend in loudness like waves cyclically hitting the shores. When the vocalist's indie rock croon then turns into a (awkward) scream, the song should find a nice home in the hearts of all original emo / post-hardcore fans out there.

But this is also the only song where you'll find a distinguishable climax. "Farewell To Knowing It All" sounds like a post-rock version of Envy's massive post-hardcore soundscape given how the ending of the song is probably the heaviest Driving On City Sidewalks will ever write, but again, I'm missing something that I can cling onto in the song. "And Ever Since..." frankly sees the band just copying The Appleseed Cast, a feeling which is omnipresent on the disc, which I guess is okay as long as you're into the band and post-rock in general. Still, I just can't help but wish that the band would utilize the screams much more like on the title track, as this is without a doubt where the band is at their best.


Download: Where Angels Crowd To Listen
For the fans of: The Appleseed Cast, Explosions In The Sky, Castevet
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.08.2008
Count Your Lucky Stars

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