City Riots - Sea Of Bright Lights

City Riots - Sea Of Bright Lights

Since their inception, it has been a case of onward and upward for Adelaide’s indie boys, City Riots. Despite the usual setbacks faced by bands (line-up changes, dodgy contracts, etc), the group have earned their stripes with plenty of touring and solid releases over the years, including some serious hours clocked up overseas and plenty of big name supports. The time has come however for the band to make their leap into the mainstream with their full-length release Sea Of Bright Lights.

Considering the group has been together for awhile, stylistic tweaking is to be expected, but it really seems as if the lads have adhered to the expectations of the scene in which they are well and truly engulfed. The bare bones, overdriven tones of their 'rockier' days, which produced such brilliant little numbers like their first single 'Signs', are no more. Instead, the vocals are breathier and high pitched and the backing synths and delayed guitars more prevalent, creating a haze of near psychedelic cushioning. This seems to work well however, presenting the change as more of a maturity with plenty of the existing elements, namely the fantastic melodies, still intact. At times, the music sounds like modern day Motor Ace, especially the glittery 'Catch the Sun', and sometimes a more mainstream Kings Of Leon/MGMT vibe is presented, as with the bass-driven opening track, 'Turn'.

The album highlight mirrors something more akin to The Naked And Famous with the airy 'Wait For You', which uses a brilliant call-and-response type vocal and guitar line. It’s not all fine and dandy as tracks like the bright and poppy 'Sucker Punch' miss the mark a little, especially in contrast to the rest of the record, and the vocal effect/style can become a little monotonous.

Things are fine when the band stick to what they do best, and that is produce fine melodies. 'Back to Normal' is full of them as it cruises along, driven by its clean strummed guitars. The record closes with some groove heavy drum and bass work in the slightly attitude-heavy 'It’s Been A Long Time', a song that takes 90s rock influences like The Verve and Oasis into consideration.

City Riots are wearing their experience and talents on their sleeve with Sea Of Bright Lights, and considering the current musical climate, they have enough elements included that should appeal to just about everyone.
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