Fred Thomas and Ryan Howard, the duo behind City Center, are set to give us their debut full-length, Redeemer. Their slightly reverb-laden dream pop is sometimes electro-infused, sometimes as lo-fi as the band’s K Records brethren. The album is a reflection on youth from one in the throws of growing up, an attempt to understand where they have been and project they are going (but mostly the former).
Redeemer is laid back with upbeat surges. The title track is soft and mellow but it sits comfortably between “Obvious” and “Modern Love”, two songs that counter its very nature. “Thaw” borders on post-grunge before diving into the bedroom-esque, ethereal but just-as-good “After Hours”. The album may vary in styles from time to time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t astonishingly cohesive. It is.
City Center’s music is intensely good, which is a phrase not often said with dream pop (the intense part, that is). But it’s true. With Redeemer, Fred and Ryan have created an album wispy in its near-psychedelic dream state but with a bit more pop fervor than your standard dream-pop duo.
Download: “Modern Love” by City Center
K Records [CD, 2011]
4. Modern Love
7. After Hours
9. Soft Marauder
10. Teardrop Children