We Are The City's artistic vision is a cut above most experimental Can-rock acts. This boundary-pushing creativity was prominently displayed on their 2013 sophomore album, Violent, and again in the gorgeous 2014 film of the same name directed by drummer Andrew Huculiak, co-written with lead singer Cayne McKenzie and others and including an all-instrumental soundtrack by the band. But the Vancouver band's third LP, Above Club, is much more than just another example of We Are The City's ongoing instrumental and aesthetic excellence. This is the band at their most mature, challenging listeners like never before and leaving an unshakeable impression as a result.
In mere snapshots of Above Club's sonic intricacies: the chaotic "Club Music" is deeply unsettling despite its poppy make-up; a throbbing electronic beat is the heart of "Heavy As A Brick"; David Menzel's guitar and the distorted synth are both unrelenting in the declarative "Sign My Name Like QUEEN." The same complexities are mirrored in the lyrics, where a newfound urgency is present on "Take Your Picture With Me While You Still Can," in which the band goes well beyond their past explorations of self and, throughout the album, dive further into their relationship with God. The mantra-like delivery of "read the bible, believe the bible, need the bible" in "Lovers In All Things" and McKenzie's dance around Huculiak's mighty drums — a brilliant anchor throughout — repeating, "Whatever God is, It's here with me now" on "Keep On Dancing" bursts with spiritual fervency.
Every moment of Above Club is filled by sounds and phrases that reward close listening and unpacking, as We Are The City weave their tangled faith and sonic architecture into an intricate and beautiful entity. (Boompa)