Reviewed by James Lavender
City Reign are a four-piece who made their name in Manchester and are now looking to go onto greater things. After the release of their debut album Another Step, they have had a growing fanbase and support from BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq. Now, they have released their second album Dasein.
If you can sum up City Reign’s sound, it can be alternative rock which can swing between grandiose and raw. An example of this would be the first song on the record, ‘Package It Up’, which is an emotional ballad featuring violin and builds to an epic crescendo. ‘Disappear’ is a more straightforward and fast-paced rock song, in the vein of The War on Drugs. Each of the bands elements, from Michael Grice’s heavily distorted guitar to Ryan Ashton’s thundering bassline, seem to come together nicely on ‘Say It Anyway’ and ‘When You Got It All’, together with Chris Bull’s ability to write a catchy tune. A particular highlight of the album is the tune ‘Into The Night’, with its heavy drums and bassline carrying the song. ‘Dasein’ is an interesting tune because it’s an instrumental, which features Grice’s guitar creating an effective soundscape. ‘Everything Starts Again’ and ‘Lightning’ sound like they belong to the rich traditional vein of indie rock bands such as Doves. It sounds like it could have been written by Elbow or Oasis. ‘Nobody Makes Mistakes’ denotes an influence to indie pop. It’s a song which people can dance to.
Overall, Dasein is a confident sounding album from an increasingly confident band, comfortable with the fact they have found their sound. My only criticism is perhaps they need to think more about the track order. ‘Dasein’ should have been the first track. It could have made an enigmatic opening to the rest of the album, and I would say ‘Package It Up’ should have been the last track, which could have added an emotional wallop right at the end of the album. Anyhow, City Reign have showed that they can produce challenging indie rock music and I believe they have a bright future ahead of them.
4 out of 5
Key Track: Into The Night