City Calm Down’s debut album, In A Restless House, has been a long time coming for the Melbourne outfit formed in 2012. We recently chatted to front man Jack Bourke about finding creative balance across the group, some of the reasons behind the delay, and knowing when to shut up.
“There’s an element of trust that goes in with being in a band,” Bourke said, “Each of us won’t like every single thing that we do 100%. There’s always going to be things that we don’t like about certain songs but if you can’t come up with an alternative yourself and there’s a whole lot of push behind it from the other members of the band then… it’s up to you but you should shut up.”
The building of this mutual trust finally allowed the release to come to light, and with expectations running high after the highly lauded single Rabbit Run, these eleven-tracks had a lot to live up to.
From opener Border on Control, Bourke channels his Lou Reed meets Matt Berninger signature baritone croon and kicks off a sonically layered, intricate journey. In some ways it is easy to see why it took so long; each sound is carefully placed like the furniture in a display home, complementary and polished in its presentation. The vocal track climbs through an 80’s power anthem build, and slides effortlessly into exuberant second single Son.
The moodier Rabbit Run won’t be new to most, having received very high rotation in the lead up to the release, but still certainly shines as a standout. The restrained, refined gloominess pull you in slowly, before quickly plunging you headfirst into the shouted chorus. The sentiment is continued through Wandering, and cements the album as one for aching hearts and sing-a-longs. Just to strike a balance, feel good highs are reached on tracks Your Fix and Falling with enough energy to power a crowded dance floor.
The infectious mix of synthesisers, church organs and guitars across the record refuse to let the band be pinned into a single genre. They fuse 80’s new wave, early 2000’s indie, and elements of stadium rock in a wonderful concoction of noise that proves that good things really do come to those who wait. While it may have taken a little while, In A Restless House is a sophisticated debut release that will be turning many heads. With their sound firmly established, hopefully their sophomore won’t be so far away.
You can grab the album over here.