[sic] Magazine

To Destroy A City – SUNLESS

To Destroy A City have taken their time to unveil their second album SUNLESS. (Remix album Rebuild must be seen as a companion work to the self titled 2011 debut). What has altered in the 3 ensuing years? A heightened focus, perhaps? Nothing radical. They still do that thing they do. You know it. When you think you’re listening to an ambient electronic project and suddenly everything soars skywards. Suddenly you’re in the realm of post rock atmospherics It the kind of trick Hammock regularly pull, only To Destroy A City do it with a little more heft. When I think of the Nashville duo I think of shimmering downtempo beauty. Their melancholy is without menace. To Destroy A City, on the other hand, are bruising. There is danger here. It’s the difference, probably, between rock and pop. This stuff can erupt.

To Destroy A City are a ‘cyborg’ act where the rhythms come from machines and the melodies from ‘real’ instruments. If you want to know my thoughts on the importance of that I will kindly refer you to my review of the debut. This time around there are nine tracks instead of eight. There seven minute long pieces instead of six. It’s hardly the stuff of reinvention. But if it ain’t broke……. etc . Thus the guitars remain rocket fuelled and everything else is pointing toward heaven and turned up to eleven. The bands name is quite apt; they could level cities with this sound. And yet the Chicago trio can take it downtempo ‘Escape/Return’ is a key example of this, a gentle piano melody over muffled dialogue before an aching guitar refrain pulls us off into a more uplifting direction.

SUNLESS isn’t without problems. Middle track ‘Last Contact’ rather meanders but I think the band see it as a keystone. The following ‘First Light’ restores loveliness. ‘Understanding In The Between’ reinforces the bands primary directive. I think To Destroy A City ‘s closest reasonable reference points are God Is An Astronaut and labelmates Lights Out Asia. Both brilliant bands, obviously and yet there’s something in ‘First Light’s restrained awe that makes me wish they’d explore further in that direction. That would make them more ‘Hammock’ but it is enough to say more To Destroy A City, please.

Good record.

SUNLESS is released 18th November on the n5MD label. Order via the link below.

Offical website

Artist at n5MD

Debut album review