Published Oct 03, 2018We Are the City's At Night finds the Vancouver three-piece joyfully embracing rough edges without worrying about sanding them into perfection. Built out of the leftover pieces of a different We Are the City album, due out in 2019, yet seeing release first, the production here is raw and lively — all of it was written and self-mixed in two weeks.
That first-draft approach works to the trio's benefit here: At Night captures a sense of immediacy, of a band chasing inspiration as it appears in the moment. Its 11 songs are full of vigour, crafted out of battering drums, cathartic lifts and emotive drops.
"When I Dream, I Dream of You" hooks onto an upswell of emotion, animated with byzantine crashes and buoyant synths; "Our Spectacular and Common Lives" pushes that same sentiment further, letting a oscillating riff reach almost ecclesiastical joy. "Delta Lab" is a thunderous instrumental jam, while the glitchy shiver of "Choice is Unlike Anything" grounds lines like "God took LSD / and thought he was me."
Elsewhere, At Night's sounds shift focus: "Mid-Tempo Drama" rides a sparser R&B groove, with singer Cayne McKenzie contemplating, "there's something wrong with you / I can guarantee there's something wrong with all of you." "Peachland at Night" proves a necessary breather, offering a instrumental piano wander that leads into the hushed musings of "Dark Horizon" and the album's quieter backend.
At Night is imperfect by design, but the sense of vitality it manages to conjure is a compelling use of the band's talents. (Light Organ)