Though the city of New Orleans is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, The Big Easy’s rapidly growing indie-rock scene has flourished; it is a veritable treasure trove of new musical talent. New Orleans-based bands such as the eclectic Big Blue Marble and jazz-rock ensemble Antenna Inn continue to impress local music lovers and a rising internet fan base. It is in this context that The City Life and their latest release are best appreciated, because the band’s sophomore effort may be just the right mix of dance rock and New Orleans flavor to achieve the wide-reaching appeal the band is looking for.
Gone Is The World represents the band’s second full-length foray into the genre.
Characteristic syncopated electric guitar and vocals adorn “White Elephant,” the first track on the new album and a popular single from earlier this year.
Unafraid to show their obvious musical debt to Franz Ferdinand, the band nevertheless manages to cultivate an original sound that demonstrates a slight shift in direction and growth from the somewhat less sophisticated work on What’s That Sound?, their 2006 debut.
According to lead vocalist Leo DeJesus, “[Gone Is The World] took half as long to make and sounds more than twice as good.” Clearly, The City Life has done their production homework and composed some substantially polished music.
Though the group has mainly populated this album with tracks ripe for the picking by party DJs everywhere, “We Deal,” one of the last tracks, stands out as genre-busting. Easily the most genuine and heartfelt work of the album, the track features a simple electric piano and harmonica arrangement with matter-of-fact vocals, but it’s disappointingly the only song on the album to prominently feature band member Lucy Gossett, a talented singer-songwriter in her own right, as lead vocalist. It comprises a tantalizing possibility for The City Life’s future direction should they ever choose to shuffle off their pop rock roots.
More representative of the overall sound of the album, “Everything’s Green” well represents the kind of upbeat, catchy dance music the aforementioned partygoers will enjoy. Hardly slowing to catch its breath, the song will keep its listeners moving and grooving to the addictive guitar riffs for the full three minutes, just long enough to keep you ensnared without losing interest; just as well, because it’s doubtful that you’ll want to be dancing for much longer after the workout this song will give you.
Listeners will find a similar routine with “The City Life” and “She’s Gonna Get It,” generic tracks typical of the genre but audibly performed with the kind of flair and showmanship to merit attention and garner interest.
Overall, Gone Is The World, while occasionally repetitive, falls well within the acceptable range for a genre known for repetitive music; its few innovative tracks are enough to warrant a recommendation to dance rock fans and partygoers everywhere.
Gone Is The World is available for direct purchase from the The City Life’s website, thecitylifemusic.com. Sample tracks are available at myspace.com/thecitylife1.