Part hardcore and part post-punk, City Trends, the new mini-album from Raleigh, North Carolina’s Davidians, is a reminder that the genre (either of them) is more than just a nostalgic reference point, but the beating heart of a beast that has only been silent due to your neglect. City Trends is an infectious collection of songs that will remind you of those genres, but satisfy you with its own originality. This isn’t a throwback act, but an honest-to-god new band with an exciting sound.
The band is comprised of former Double Negative members Brain Walsby (the bands first drummer), Justin Gray (bass), and Cameron Craig (the bands second singer), along with Minneapolis, MN guitarist Colin Swanson-White. Having previously released two singles (one on Canada’s Deranged Records and one on Raleigh’s Sorry State), the quartet now offer this collection of songs recorded at Pershing Hill Sound by producer Greg Elkins.
Songs like “Non-Music Drug Sounds,” “We Make What the World Takes,” and “PPTW” are angry, fast-paced punk. While “Nutmeg” and “Track Suit Glasses” are no less relenting, recalling Fugazi in riffage, Minor Threat in speed. “Boiled Nephilim” sounds like late-era Black Flag in delivery, but kicks out its own brand of melodic angst. Highlights, “Ole Smokey” and “Lousy with Hagar,” best display the bands interplay of instruments and their use of dynamics to create tension, instead of relying on the loud-quiet-loud template. Rather than having the guitars multi-tracked, doubled, and pushed to the top of the mix, the recording here better reflects the musicians in the band. Drums and bass steer each song as the guitars are more focused on adding a manic, sometimes disjointed effect similar to that delivered by the vocals.
While everything is primarily up-tempo, that’s not to suggest there’s not plenty of changes and diversions from the expected. As songs open with a burst of energy, just as quickly they shift tempo and head down another path. The songs might be short (8 songs, 16 minutes), but they’re each interesting. As a collection, and a quick listen, I found myself playing it back-to-back on numerous occasions. If it sounds like Davidians are up your alley, you will most likely dig City Trends. We recommend it and also suggest checking them out live. The band will be playing a few shows in North America at the end of February and March, follow their Facebook page for dates.
– J. Kevin Lynch