Cape May Central City May Rise Again

From Flemish Eye, the label that graced us with Chad Van Gaalen's phenomenal Infiniheart, comes another beautifully diverse set of well produced folk rock mini-epics. Fronted by singer/songwriter Clinton St. John, Central City May Rise Again spends its ten tracks balancing stark folk pop with a series of builds and full-band climaxes — from noise bursts to subdued post-rock — without fully committing to either extreme. Brief overture "Thing (Summer in 6/4 Time)" is the record's most compact, quickly blossoming into a triumphant sing-along, but most of what follows bears the marks of a band pushing themselves beyond their genre's more comfortable confines, resulting in a record too brooding to fully take in with a single spin. Though consequent listens reveal a few clear misses, Central City relentlessly hits back with a solid hook ("Bullmarket Frenzy"), clever arrangement ("On Sunprinted Thumbs") or even a simple, memorable drum pattern (the otherwise lulling, Radiohead-esque "Address the Royal We") to make the trip through St. John's enveloping, mythical tales more than worth the effort. (Flemish Eye)