This Darktown Jubilee article was written by Evie Myers, a GIGsoup contributor
Down in the depths of Manchester stand Indie rock quartet Darktown Jubilee, who have gained quite a following since their inception back in 2010. Their second album ‘City of Light’ has aspirations of a toe tapping release and the potential to achieve something great. However, it remains unadventurous in its development.
Opening with the band’s single release, ‘Falling Down’ is arguably City of Light‘s most upbeat tune and begins with a strong, catchy riff. This quiet optimism is soon diminished however when the instruments fade into the background, allowing vocalist David Boardman to take centre stage. While he has a captivating voice, the plain and repetitive Indie style riffs accompanying him let it down somewhat. After a while, it grates on you and turns into an irritating drone.
It seems that Darktown Jubilee have found a style they are comfortable with and stick firmly to it. But by the eponymous fifth track, it has lost all its appeal and quite frankly seems a little lazy on their part. If a band strives to be memorable, they have to push the proverbial boat out and introduce more depth and diversity. The second half of the album sadly does not improve, reducing in pace with ‘For The Lovers’. What were already slow, undeveloped guitars are rendered rather unendurable. The tempo does pick up again during In the End, but at this point it is not enough of a redeeming factor. The remaining tracks are just as unadventurous and unmemorable, with no distinguishing features.
The closing track In ‘The Fire’ is a short but sweet ending to ‘City of Light’. As the only piano led piece, it makes for pretty pleasant listening compared to the preceding tracks. Hearing David’s voice in this stripped back style is beautiful and comes as a refreshing change. It is, however, not enough to redeem City of Light and it’s a pity that such a lovely song comes at the end of such an uninspiring album.
For the duration of this album Darktown Jubilee seem like they are warming up in anticipation for something exciting. But unfortunately it never reaches its potential. ‘City of Light’ lacks any kind of depth and excitement, as the progression of this album begins and ends with simplistic riffs and clichéd, repetitive lyrics. As such, it fails to deliver any kind of impact on the listener.
City of Light is now available through Parade Recordings Ltd.