Music Reviews
City Center

City Center

Cops Don’t Care 7” / Spring St.

M’Lady Records / Quite Scientific

Although he’s best known for his lo-fi orchestral pop outfit Saturday Looks Good to Me, over the course of his music career, Fred Thomas has plumbed just about every sub-genre of indie rock. His latest project, City Center, with former SLGTM drummer Ryan Howard, is an experimental hybrid of all of these past sounds – weirdo pop, punk, lo-fi noise, field recordings, etc. The most consistently exciting thing about City Center is its chimerical sound.

The A-side of the Cops Don’t Care 7” is a woozy, pulsing, and dirty C-86-esque number that nearly touches the transcendence of shoegaze though its sunburst-distorted guitars. It’s made all the more endearing because of its lack of grandiosity; it careens around just like good fuzz pop should. The flip side, “Heat Isn’t the Word,” is the epitome of nebulous composition. Guitar notes and bass pulsations hang in the air, gently wrought through effects pedals and the echoes of seemingly endless darkness. It’s so gorgeous and minimal, a heavenly antithesis to the terrestrial noise on the A-side.

It’s impossible to see the divisions in Spring St. despite its make-up of four songs. There’s California-pop guitar jamming, noise record bass throb, late-night house party chatter, synth slowcore, and delayed/looped psychedelia among other linking sonic incidentals. It’s the duo’s most effective and texturally rich sound collage statement yet. It’s like a conglomeration of the snippets of sounds of a bustling city heard through an open car window, and it’s wonderful.

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