Post-hardcore. Just the name invokes goosebumps in those who prefer the finer aspects of music. A genre once based on raw passion has slowly morphed into a commercialized scene dominated by swooping hair and manufactured breakdowns. It is safe to say that San Diego’s A City Serene are not much different. With their latest EP, The Widows Walk, the band delivers a collection of songs that pander to the lowest level of screamo fandom that is masked by a seemingly “original” female lead.
The EP begins with the short instrumental/screaming introduction of “Don’t Call It A Comeback;” it’s safe to say that the band’s wish in this title song will come true, as this song is more an abomination than a return to greatness. As the track heads into “Hello Nightmare,” it is obvious that the band was trying to warn the listener of their music. More original instrumentation could be found on an Asking Alexandria record. Yet, all hope is not lost for the act. Lead singer Carly Baker, by virtue of being a female vocalist, adds a level of novelty to the band. Her soft voice adds a depth of melody to the band’s sound, and is an improvement over the destructive, masochistic nature of the harsh vocals. Indeed, this seems to be the formula of the band’s sound. Baker’s voice carries the band throughout the following three tracks, anchoring and driving “The Wishing Well,” breathing life into “Memoria,” and giving strong support to the melody of “We Are Dreamer.”
Instrumentally, The Widows Walk, to quote the record, is “not worth shit.” The music is defined by stagnation and the breakdowns are boring. While clean vocalist Carly Baker breathes life into the band’s sound and gives life to the EPs limp, dead tracks, it is not enough to salvage the entire collection. Indeed, should any married men listen to this song, the album title might prove to be prophetic. If A City Serene hope to truly make it in the current musical climate, they should raise their level of performance from “horrendous” to (at least) “poor,” because this EP might be too little quality for even the dullest scene kid.
2. Hello Nightmare
3. The Wishing Well
5. We Are Dreamer
In the band’s short history, A City Serene seems to have found a niche in an ever-changing genre. With catchy riffs, melodic vocals, and heavy breakdowns, these kids from San Diego have developed a sound seldom heard in a scene overwhelmed with similarity. ... read more