Apr 2013 12

City Rain - Montage EPCity Rain
Category: Electro-pop
Album: Montage EP
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: City Rain’s new EP piles synthesizers and guitars over syrupy sweet pop hooks with a contemplative side.


Finding emotional depth in pop music is similar to looking for a needle in a haystack. While you may get lucky now and then, most of the time spent searching on your knees is in vain. Every once in a while though, an album is released that encompasses both great pop songwriting and emotional depth. Such is the case with Philadelphia duo City Rain and the new EP Montage.

Montage kicks off with the title track, on which densely layered guitar seethes under a mountain of drum machines and synthetic soundscapes, all building to the chorus where vocalist Ben Runyan exclaims, “Coming into my own, I’m the king of my throne, and I’m going alone.” Directly preceding an absolute monster of a dance beat, the moment of self reflection and complete honesty in Runyan’s lyrics is supremely refreshing. Montage continues with the soul-baring track “Big Boys Do Cry.” Guitar textures reminiscent of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” build the anticipation of the track to the breaking point. Working with a palate of emotionally charged lyrics, Runyan paints a portrait of vulnerability rarely seen in dance music, let alone presented by men. The emotional outpouring combined with the driving dance beat makes “Big Boys Do Cry” a highlight of the album (in spite of the cringe inducing song title). “Heart’s on Fire” sees the band take a step back from the vulnerability presented in the previous tracks, but ups the dance pop quotient to new heights, showcasing a low end fuelled chorus that would get even casual observers dancing. The next song sees Runyan return to introspective self reflection. Exploring identity issues and the dangers of aging layered over an infectious beat peppered with funk guitar, “No Problems” is a perfect marriage of both electro-pop musicality and lyrical honesty. Montage closes with “I Remember,” a synth driven pop juggernaut bound to ignite dance floors everywhere.

In the vapid, self-centered world that is pop music, City Rain sticks out like a sore thumb. Rising above the shallow aspirations offered by their more notable contemporaries, City Rain presents an EP of material that, while heavy on dance and pop hooks, still maintains a semblance of honesty and vulnerability rarely seen in electronic music. Thanks to these elements, Montage is definitely worth a listen.
Track list:

  1. Montage
  2. Big Boys Do Cry
  3. Heart’s on Fire
  4. No Problems
  5. I Remember w/Outputmessage
  6. Big Boys Do Cry (Orchestral Mix)
  7. Hearts on Fire (Orchestral Mix)

City Rain Website http://www.cityraintunes.com
City Rain Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cityraintunes
City Rain Twitter http://www.twitter.com/cityraintunes
City Rain SoundCloud http://www.soundcloud.com/cityraintunes
Stompf Tavern Records
Purchase at:
Amazon MP3
Ryan Brun (RBrun)

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