Thursday, September 3, 2009

Driving on City Sidewalks - 'Where Angels Crowd to Listen'

Having seen people drive all over Philadelphia’s sidewalks – against traffic no less! – you’d think a band named Driving on City Sidewalks would sound dangerous, scary, probably on drugs, and hopefully blind. But on their EP Where Angels Crowd to Listen, these Canadian curb-mounters are more interested in spacey post-rock than they are in taking out school children, street vendors, and assorted bric-a-brac.

Where Angels Crowd to Listen cycles through a few ideas in its lengthy 28-minute running time. Over the course of five tracks, the duo of Barry Mielke and Darryl Silvestri fiddle with screamo, folk, pop, and, of course, post-rock. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re going for an Envy-style emotional rising/falling action. But the band employs hardcore dynamics so rarely that when they do use them it’s just awkward. The throaty screams on the title track distract from the grace of the overall song, which is expansive and enveloping. Granted, the group only adds a dash of screamo at best, but it’s still too much.

That aside, though, Driving on City Sidewalks seems like a rather promising act. While the band has the space rock thing down pat, it might be interesting to hear them further explore their acoustic, folkier side, a la track three, “Tear, Repair.” And if it leads to alt-country nirvana, all the better. Until then, though, Where Angels Crowd to Listen stands as a teaser of hopefully better things.

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