Our very own Charles Hale, well aware of my constant need to be exposed to new music, threw out a record to me: A Flourish And A Spoil by The Districts. I was intrigued by the introductory track: initially all bass and percussion, you’re gradually eased in to crashing waves of guitar and vocals, fuzzy and forceful and wild. This song, “4th and Roebling”, will remind you of several other bands you’ve heard, no doubt. But there’s a persistence in the lyricism, an unrelenting element to the instrumentation, that lets you know there’s a point to all of this beyond an ‘indie rock’ sound.
These songs sound torn more than written. I keep using the word ‘heavy’ to describe the content of albums I review, and that could be due to my own lack of vocabulary or it could be due to the pull, the draw, of powerful music. Slugging music, more Foreman than Ali. In that opening track, the singer laments
“I ain’t the same anymore / I ain’t the same as before / You gone and changed, I’m sure”
in a song about how powerful your sense of self can be wrapped up in your love, and how everything can be turned upside down so easily. It’s a picture that’s painted for the audience instead of a screenplay laid out, formulaic and coherent.
Another memorable track is “Suburban Smell”, an evisceration of childhoods spent safe and secure while discrimination and conformity bubble underneath the surface. This album is a collection of delicately threaded needles: powerful rhythm-heavy tracks that you find yourself swaying to, nodding along with the beat. It’s an album that you find unsettles you when a lyric catches you in an off moment and galvanizes a feeling you had when you were a different person, or reminds you of something long gone.