Warner Drive – City Of Angels review

City Of Angels coverFor the past three years, the band have been clocking up over 200 shows a year- if that’s not hard working, feel free to explain what it. Having played shows alongside the likes of Jet, The Killers, Plain White T’s and Imagine Dragons, there’s a lot more reasons you should be interested in this band than simply for their all-out dedication – there’s a strong likelihood they’ll be a household name in the world of rock soon enough. On their debut album, they managed to sell 10,000 copies independently, and their current release, City Of Angels is out via Cyber Tracks now.

Four and a half minute opener, Rising From The Fallen sets the mood of the album with driving riffs which lead into the distinctive and instant-hit vocals. A gritty edge to the clear vocal work, coloured with layers to enhance the sound, makes this track a solid work of rock. The track gives way to let a weak breakdown into its midst, though, which lets the piece down slightly as a crack in the music’s pristine demeanor. The title track comes second on the record, with the hints of classic rock influences prominent throughout. The striking chorus in the song makes it clear as to why it’s the lead track; the sort of lines ideal for gang-vocals and fist pumping at gigs create an ideal set closer.

An electric tinged intro, slightly harsher vocals and a cliched pre-verse only marginally dampen the brilliance of third track, Boys N’ Girls, a love rock-ballad and personal favourite off the album. This title is earned from the addictive and tight chorus; “If it hurts too much, if it makes you cry / We can fall in love in black and white / Boy meets girl and girl changes his world”. The air-guitar worthy solo that follows this tops off the track, before Radio Love Song commences vocal-heavy. With lyricism in the chorus that would suit a pop-song, the line, “sounds like a radio love song”, revives the rockier side of the track and redeems and justifies the simplicity.

Open Our Eyes holds a staccato pre-chorus that gives the impression of leading to something grand and overpowering, but ends up only falling in on itself and dissolving into a tangle of riffs and percussion. A more definite start commences the second half of the album, with the layered riffs that lead into King Of Swing which boasts a meaty verse before the climactic chorus. One thing that this band have down to a T is the manner of creating choruses that all but force you to join in, making an album perfect for live shows.

Old school Green Day chords fade into gravelly vocals for the start of West Memphis Three, which holds a true sound of what “real” rock should be like before one of the shortest albums tracks, Ah-Ha. The clear vocals tell a narrative of a frustrating woman, and the repetitive chorus manages to forge the same anger in the listener, until the narrative voice of reason returns with the gritty vocals – albeit no resolution.

Whilst nothing particularly spectacular, Falling Down serves as a sold penultimate track of heavy, staggered riffs and vocals, before closing Fully Loaded wraps up the album. With tight and honest vocals, such a fast track isn’t a typical way to end a record, but here it works, with the energy pulsing from the track not slackening for a second until the finale of the album, making it all the more powerful.

From overpowering riffs to tight lyrics you can only respect, this is an album of true rock, whilst remaining accessible. A confident and impressive second album.

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