Black City

Black City

Written by: PP on 16/11/2010 15:10:16

I'm in the mood for more Danish bands tonight, so here's another one. Black City are a moden hard rock / alternative rock unit from Copenhagen, who hit the metaphorical jackpot less than a year ago when they were picked up by Universal Denmark. I mean, who the hell are these guys and how did they get signed to a major label before releasing a single album, right? I figured I should probably check it out for you guys and report back. They're being aggressively marketed by Universal to us press folks, which is usually a sign of weak songs that have to be shoved into our throats before we recognize any value in them, but against all odds this is not the case with their self-titled debut album. Instead of boring pop ballads, a couple of hits and a ton of filler, the listener is treated to driving alternative rock which is played faithfully to the genre's late 90s/early 2000s era (think Billboard Modern Rock bands like Nickelback and so forth), but with much more honesty and rock'n'roll injected into the mix.

The simplest way to put it is to say that Black City aren't shy to sound poppy in spite of playing traditional rock. But fear not, this is rock star music, and it requires rock star attitude to be pulled off right. And here's where Black City sell it to me despite predictable song structures: the simple repeat-one-line choruses are played like there's no end in sight, with high tempo and energy throughout, leaving the listener in no doubt that Black City are as-we-speak throwing their hair back in a frenzy of drunken headbanging haze while living every note through the extension of their body, namely the guitar. If you've ever heard local rockers Bullet Train Blast, Black City are essentially a beefier, bigger, and better sounding version of those guys, with an album's worth of infectiously catchy choruses to supplement their attitude. This is no 80s clone folks, this is genuine modern rock that doesn't sound retrospective despite it's choice of genre. Good old classic rock'n'roll, in a glossier format than you're used to hearing. Now I don't know exactly why or how they pull it off, but they have me singing along to a very, very obviously poppy track like "Every Night" from start to finish each time I hear it. It should sound like a mainstream monstrosity, but some very good clean vocals and a good guitar riff is all it takes to elevate the band above so many of their peers.

The weirdest thing about it all? That Universal actually spotted these guys for their talent and realized there's also potential for sales. Usually the majors wouldn't recognize a good band even if their life depended on it, but "Black City" is one hell of a record, I'll happily admit. There's really no filler, just kick ass rock tracks that recall the greats in the genre without sounding unnecessarily worship nor retrospective-like. You can throw originality out the window, but when you have a tracks like "Tomorrow May Not Come" in your repertoire, sounding unique is one of many things you just don't need to worry about.


Download: Summertime, Every Night, Walk In The Shadow, Tomorrow May Not Come
For the fans of: Bullet Train Blast, Foo Fighters, Nickelback, Mustasch
Listen: Myspace

Release date 03.05.2010

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