Chicago indie-electronica group City States Resolution EP is only five songs long, but that still feels like too many. Most of the songs fall into a repetition that lacks enough interesting twists and instrumentation to keep you wanting to listen.
Breathe sounds like a Kenna pass off that never really builds to anything. The occasional distorted guitar hit breaks up the monotony of the spacey snyth lines and echoed drums, while everything loops around under breathy vocals. The following track, It’s Nothing, does no favors by ditching the drums and continuing the same sleepy keyboards and dynamics. That seems to be the concept for the entire album: Keep it simple with the beat, and never change.
There are a few highlights on the otherwise even keel EP. Opener Reverse Slow Motion utilizes a catchy dance beat and energetic vocal line. The keyboards and guitar hits combine into a glittery feel that make the song a good candidate for a city sidewalk soundtrack. Evened Out starts out with a keyboard line that sounds borrowed from Thom Yorkes Atoms for Peace and gives the first hint that the band can form a fully realized song. Its a shame, then, that its the final song on the EP.
City States take on pseudo-Radiohead electronic pop fits nicely with other bands that have taken the, at times, complicated form and watered it down for mainstream consumption. However, it ends up being exactly that: watered down. With the lack of musical changes and breaks from the same loops, the songs evolve into background noise. Even then, it’s somewhat annoying background noise.
Essential Tracks: “Reverse Slow Motion”, “Evened Out”