When Cities Sleep – What Lies Lay Between Us

When Cities Sleep - What Lies Lay Between Us

When Cities Sleep – What Lies Lay Between Us

On first listen, my gut said this is an over-produced mess. And, yes, the five-piece band named When Cities Sleep throws a lot at you with the eight songs on What Lies Lay Between Us, but parts of the album’s production demonstrate fine attention to detail. For example, on track 4, “Life And Lies,” the synth accompaniment to the guitar during the chorus pumps space beneath an already interesting chord progression. These sounds aren’t competing. And the glitches that trigger right before the next verse (at 1:20) really stand up the riff immediately following. The transitions between verse and chorus in this song survive because of the digital influx.

Digital tones and beats weave strings and knots through this album like paint drippings on canvas. The digitization is what the album’s promotional material calls an infusion of electronic dance music. This is most notable on “Letters For You,” the final track, which pulls off a musical-arrangement win despite sometimes cringe-worthy vocal tracks. During part changes, the song is just as likely to drop into a dance beat as it is a Kong-like breakdown. This unpredictability works to the song’s advantage.

Still, some of this production is slapping lipstick on a pig. The digital insistence swirling through opener “Dead Tires” only irritates, so that the added noise exposes the riffs as brain dead and leaves the vocals sounding stupidly belligerent.

Even now, I know this album won’t make it back into my rotation. But I still appreciate something here. What Lies Lay Between Us is melodramatic hardcore metal with some crossover appeal. After recovering from the recoil, you might find yourself wading willingly into the mess.

Indianola Records