This album was released this week and I just started listening, but it is something beyond awesome. Sister City hits, and hits hard, with its new full length release Small Talk. There are an extreme amount of catchy riffs, emotional harmonies, the lyricism is clever and being just a two piece, they bring the noise, sounding more together than a full band. And their sound is all over the place, but staying within the same catchy indie, sometimes emo, and rock sound.
The songs show an evident influence from pop-punk / indie bands most people growing up with the style of music will be able to recognize. On their Facebook page, some of the musical influences they cite that show profoundly in their songs are Weatherbox, Cursive, Bomb the Music Industry!, and Brand New. There are times in their songs when the vocalist sounds shockingly close to the latter’s Jesse Lacey. Which is great, because the vocalist is something to note. He has a great voice that is versatile. In order to be a band that spans genres, you need to have a voice that can cover the mood in the melodies. Adam Linder, vocalist and guitarist (as well as bassist on the records and songwriter for the band) is able to capture an array of emotionalism and power in his voice. When his voice needs to be sad, it traverses soundscapes of melancholy; at times when the jams are upbeat, his voice changes accordingly.
This kind of versatility is worth nothing, because a good or bad vocalist can make the band, or break the band, in this case it absolutely makes Sister CIty. The lyrics coincide, as well, with what is great about this band. With clever lines like, “I actually don’t have anything to say today / I actually don’t have anything” or “But when I taught myself to walk again / I respectfully declined the chance / And planted myself stubbornly instead / And I stared at the ground / And I found myself imagining / That it meant something profound / So I made meaning out of everything I found,” it’s easy to tell the words are thought out, rather than some of the diluted lyrics in the indie/emo/pop-punk, what have you, scene which all blend together.
What is even better, they put the album up for free on their bandcamp. You can also buy their music, and they have a bunch of cool little incentives to do so: if you spend 50 dollars, singer-guitarist Adam Liner will personally write you a song on any subject the buyer chooses; if you spend 25 dollars, Adam will cover a song that you choose, although he says “Be reasonable.” It’s an interesting method to promote an album, and if I had 25 dollars and am permitted to be vein for a moment, I would totally give these dudes the money so I could get them to cover “Daughter” by Pearl Jam because most people don’t even know how catchy the riff in that song is. Hell, if I had an extra 25 dollars, I would get them to cover it again, only slower, for my dubstep project I don’t, and will never have. Excluding my self-indulgent tangent, this album was great, and it’s free online, and if you have the money you can get handwritten lyrics from the album written by Adam, and a letter which he says “tries to make small talk.” That’s not only a play on the full length name, but it’s adorable. So give these guys a listen.
Below, check out “Today Was My Day to Die and You Ruined it” off Sister City’s LP Small Talk.