Useless Cities – EP Review

Useless Cities are a band featuring two guys Tom and Sebs and two girls Conny and Clare. You could say they’re like an indie version of ABBA with the exception that the females are an essential part in the making of the sound, not just the singing over it. After 12 months of regular rehearsals in a deserted public toilet situated in Kentish Town, the band have been performing at various venues ever since.

Useless Cities could be described in many ways, one label taking affect is the indie shoegaze which is in fact evidenced in the bands instrumentals and bitter-sweet lyrical preferences. The eeriness of the sound is suppressed by the flowery guitar tenors with sprinkles of piano notes.

Their EP invites us to appreciate the compliance of the male and female vocals woven together creating monotonous harmonies. The distinguished pitches between the female and male vocals evoke a sense of elegance to the music, complementing the lightness of keys and strings. Their sound fringes the gloominess that The xx transpire, however Useless Cities affix a sort of rustic grace to their musical disposition through their tracks ‘Stay, Follow’ and ‘To Be Ruined’.

‘Stay’ is the first track on their EP introducing the theme of continuity in their music. The steady beat and simple lyrics evokes an [The] xx feel to the music. The synergy of the drums, piano and guitar leaves undertones of modesty within the track, fashioning the sombreness the indie genre frequently implements.

The second track ‘Follow’ drifts away from the soothing endurances that encompasses ‘Stay’. ‘Follow’ materialises as the song goes on. The layering of instruments induces anguish but it works. From ‘Follow’ we get a sense Useless Cities can immerse themselves into the quietness that enraptures indie music while engulfing themselves with the rowdy and fun fragments of the indie genre.

‘To Be Ruined’ has a summery air to it. The upbeat tempo and organised scattering of the piano keys makes for an optimistic sound in contradiction to the title. Further into the song the guitar becomes heavier and the drums get louder coinciding with the idea of the song title foreshadowing wisps of poetry.

These three songs further emphasise the bands indie shoegaze style, and hopefully we hear more from Useless Cities in their upcoming gig in Brighton on 22nd July at The Joker.

Words by Simi Manik

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