by Tiana Feng
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Label: Hidden Pony Records
Vancouver’s We Are the City have come a long way since 2009’s In A Quiet World. They’ve gone through line-up changes, but for Violent guitarist David Menzel returned.
Violent explores the subject of growing up, sometimes in unexpected ways. Songs have religious undertones (“King David”, “Baptism”, “Punch My Face”) but are not too chauvinistic that it’s listenable. Front-man Cayne McKenzie is a solid vocalist, never buried under instrumental experimentation. And there is quite a bit of sonic exploration resulting in each tune sounding different than the one preceding.
“Friends Hurt”‘s depressing chorus, “it hurts when friends are hurting, and my friends are hurting,” is made light by being set to opposingly bright synths. There is also an awesome line about salmon questioning existence. Handclaps and tambourine find themselves essential in “Legs Give Up.”
The subject of existential questioning appears throughout. In “King David” McKenzie questions if he’s going to hell for being too egotistical. He reflects on this again in “I Am, Are You?”, “I’ve grown older, addicted to pride.” Single Baptism laments on how life didn’t go on as planned, “all my plans went wrong/ all the pretty girls, none were good enough.”
Album closer “Punch My Face” while religious seems to have some undertone of an accidental situation. Perhaps a murder or a case of domestic violence. It’s like all along the “Bottom of the Lake” mentioned in the first song was just the darkest depths of his own mind all along.