Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Clean but formula release from The City and Skyway

January 16, 2010

As far as experienced lineups go, The City and Skyway seems to have hit the jackpot. Band members have previously played in Dashboard Confessional, Lifetime, Limbeck, The Promise Ring, The Benjamins, and others.

And yet, as the star power doesn’t exactly add up on Everything Looks Worse in Black and White. There are certainly many elements that could create a great album – talented and experienced musicians, tight production and a cohesive sound. But despite having all of these flavorsome ingredients, the result still doesn’t taste quite right. Some of this can be chalked up to the fact that Everything Looks Worse in Black and White is the group’s debut album. With a little more spice thrown into the cooking pot next time, The City and Skyway could really create a stronger release.

The main issue in this album is that while the songs are very consistent, they are so much so that they tend to run together, making it somewhat difficult to distinguish one from another. All, very generally speaking, are electric guitar-driven pop-punk-rock with easy harmonies and predictable choruses that seem to run at extremely similar tempos. Each song on Everything Looks Worse in Black and White could actually sound better on its own instead of being played one after the other as an entire album. This, however, shows how far The City and Skyway could go with their next release.

There is, nonetheless, a lot of good to be heard, too. Drummer Ryan Joyce has some really interesting and unique fills, the harmonies are nicely executed (even if they are kind of conventional), and lead singer Mitch Lyon has the perfect voice for The City and Skyway’s style. If the group takes a few more songwriting risks with their next release, the powerful lineup could really be used to its full potential.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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