TEN CITY NATION: ‘Hidden Shallows’ / ‘The Air Is On Fire.’
As an introduction to the work of Bury St. Edmunds power trio, this double-A-side single release certainly serves its purpose. As a commercial venture though, I’m not so sure since both tracks are also available on the ‘Love Music, Hate Racism’ EP to be released the following week through the same R*E*P*E*A*T Records label, along with seventeen other tracks – at about ninety pence more than the cost of downloading these two tracks directly.
But then, I’m just a cynical old sod! (Actually, the EP was conceived and put together by TEN CITY NATION guitarist, Seymour and the head of the label, so they obviously know a whole lot better than me!)
Anyway – the music: ‘Hidden Shadows’ is a good, solid (if a little uninspiring) indie-type rocker. Searing slices of guitar hooks permeate the track as it makes its determined and heads-down, blinkered trek across the three and a half minutes. The vocals are a bit mono-toned and consequently lack a bit of expression that could have lifted the song. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent enough track, but having heard so many great reports and reviews of TEN CITY NATION prior to playing the CD, I have to confess to expecting more.
I know this a ‘double-A-side’ release, and that one track must obviously precede the other, but personally I would have had ‘The Air Is On Fire’ as the lead. This one I think has the variation and attitude that is missing from ‘Hidden Shallows.’ If I were to suggest that it reminds me of early U2, it’s meant as a big compliment.
From an atmospheric beginning with a ‘click’ sounding bass line being sprinkled with a light but haunting guitar and quietly moody vocals, it erupts into bouncing and rocking chorus before dropping back down again to the initial level. This is repeated a few times throughout the six minute duration with the guitar becoming ever more fuzzed and prominent. I can imagine this being a bit of a showstopper when played live, encouraging wild movement down at the front!
(Released through R*E*P*E*A*T Records on 20th September 2010)
(7.5 / 10)