Performing in a two-piece outfit can be quite a difficult feat to accomplish. How do you pull off a full, engaging sound with only half the members of your average band? Recording a two-piece outfit however can be an even trickier nut to crack. How do you give the listener a full audio experience, while still maintaining an honest depiction of the band? A studio setting can be an enticing environment to add in extra layers tracks and instruments. Winnipeg, MB’s own melodic punk rock pair Mobina Galore may have found the answer.
Cities Away does right where other duo albums fail; providing more than a binary experience, without overproducing and misrepresenting the band. While some extra tracks have been added to the mix, they only suit to support and enhance the overall sound of the song, rather than steal focus, save for a bouncy bass line in the already infectious “Bad Love Song”. Where this album really succeeds however is in knowing what the strong-suits of this “gruesome twosome” are. Shortly after the opening buzz-saw guitar of “Skeletons”, you are quickly greeted with singer/guitarist Jenna Priestner’s strong melodic vocal delivery, that instantly transforms into a forceful snarl that could easily rival that of Brody Dalle, only to be followed up with an inviting gang chorus that will have everyone counting along. From these first 58 seconds, you get a pure sense of what this album delivers; great composition, with well written vocal melody, and approachable lyrics, emotionally delivered with a polish that doesn’t take away from their raw and blistering power.
While Jenna Priestner’s commanding delivery may be the main entrée that draws you in, it is drummer/vocalist Marcia Hanson who adds the spicing that makes this dish worth serving. Perfectly layering vocal harmonies, there is also a strong sense of understanding the “less is more” mentality, knowing when to hold down steady rhythms, only to pop out with unique and interesting patterns during the breathing moments of her counterpart.
Coming in at under 25 minutes, Cities Away does leave a little more to be desired time-wise. In possibly an attempt to increase the overall run-time of the album, some of the tracks of this eight song album do tend to carry on a little too long. This is a case where the overall listening experience would have favored an additional song or two. It might have also benefited from a different track order. While there is good diversity in tone and tempo, I can’t help but feel the overall flow could have been improved from a different arrangement, specifically for “Revel & Riot”, a song just screaming to be a fade-out album closer.
With that said, Cities Away is very accomplished, in both properly representing the band, while leaving the listener anxiously anticipating more. A solid debut that shows great promise, this is one album worth travelling towns over to hear.
Review by David Huzyk | @David_TGT