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Port Cities - Port Cities (Turtlemuzik)

Star rating: 
4

Layered vocals against guitars and keyboards Port Cities are a hard band to classify. This Canadian three piece from Nova Scotia who recorded in Nashville manage to blend elements of both locations into their sound. The band, Dylan Guthrie, Breagh Mackinnon and Carleton Stone, reckon a port city is where cultures and histories collide and goods and ideas are imported. Port Cities the band and the album seem to be very much a melting pot of ideas. Intelligent country pop meets rock sheen with some lofi moments of grainy textures and an almost Neil Young edgy perversity at being in the gutter.

Album closer Astronaut is a case in point with Breagh Mackinnon's voice at its most bleak and Rickie Lee Jones like, delivering a lyric about the way childhood dreams are worn down by 'so called life'. Her vocal beautiful and bruised against squalls of electric guitar. Less is more in terms of intensity and emotion. Back To The Bottom is a perfect example of Nashville perfect pop vocals, against bubbling electronics and stadium rock guitar hooks looped like The XX meets Coldplay. Don’t Say You Love Me has an impassioned vocal like anthemic Bono or David Gray. Sound Of Your Voice with its Fleetwood Mac rolling drum pattern, Country Rock guitars and vocals is Port Cities softer side. Burn That Bridge is a captivating mix of classic Country Ballad verses over pulsing electronics giving it a strongly urban feel. This track or Astronaut is going to crop up as quiet moment soundtrack in Criminal Minds or Greys Anatomy. Worlds collide with rustic and atmospheric meeting urban electronics and textures. This is the sound of a band with World Class Stadium sized ambitions and some interesting ideas. 

Marc Higgins
Northern Sky