Reviews City States Geography

City States


They say that good things come to those that wait and for City States and their main member Joel Ebner, it's certainly true. Ebner has spent many years creating and perfecting his debut - Geography - and after forming in 2008, City States first record finally saw the light of day earlier this year. Geography is a lovely little record, all bright shimmers and electronic affectations with Ebner's voice vulnerable and delicate at all the right moments. "Endless Sunlight" bounds on a light beat with Ebner's vocal laying over the guitar and synth sections in order to lift it above the instrumentation and give it life. Joel plays a majority of the instruments on the record himself but a little help comes courtesy of Mike Burmester on drums and Steve Lund taking control of keys and synths. The little touches that Lund brings are affecting and gives Geography a genuinely delightful atmosphere while Ebner sings songs of loss and hope - "To Remember" - but the shining luminoisty that underpins the tracks gives Geography a current of glowing belief that things may just be alright in the end.

"(For Dad)" is a soft, instrumental piece that harbours a deep sadness in its short time and leads into the melodic, melancholic "Uncharted Waters" with ease. The track builds slowly, layering samples over and over while Ebner's voice cuts through the sorrow with clean, simple lyrics that speak volumes of the promise of new starts. "I'm Always Somewhere Else" is reminiscent of James Blake's material - tripped out beats underneath a strong vocal - and the record as a whole is a lot more electronic than initially suggested. Ebner's influences include The Antlers, Brian Eno and Tortoise (the band's John McEntire mixed the record) and they certainly shine through, The Antlers in particular in the frailty of the music and its way of dealing with feelings of sudden loss and heartbreak. Sadly, Ebner's father died halfway through the making of the record and the heartache is interwoven into the very fabric of the songs.

Geography is a wonderful start for City States and for Joel Ebner one can only hope that his next musical endeavours aren't coloured with such sadness but that he uses it to move forward and to learn and grow.

7.5 / 10Cheryl
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
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7.5 / 10

7.5 / 10

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