Review: We Are The City’s “Above Club”

Former Peak Performance Project winners and current multi-dimensional artists We Are The City have definitely had their hands full the past two years. The band’s 2013 project “Violent” included a full-length studio album, a feature-length film written by the band and partners and directed by drummer Andrew Huculiak, a film festival circuit, and a European tour. So when the band finally had a break this fall they had one goal: write, record, and release an album by the end of 2015. Lofty.

Hunkered down in a mystery space above a club in Europe, the band live-streamed the entire process on their website. 24-hours a day, seven days a week fans could tune in to the broadcast to watch the band eat, sleep, play, write, and even trash things; all in the name of good music. A few weeks later, they closed the stream and announced the release of the album. Efficient.

From the outside the entire process sounds absurd, but it seems to be what the band thrives on. Experimental and progressive in nature, these sorts of projects seem to be at the core of what drives the group’s creative process. Prior to Above Club the band wrote and recorded Violent in what they deemed “Magic House” -a Vancouver homestead with a scheduled demolition date. Prior to that, the band revisited songs and musings they composed as teenagers and released an entire project titled “High School” a six-track EP with an accompanying series of videos, each paired with a song from the release.

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Above Club follows We Are The City’s tried and tested formula of pushing their limits resulting in a diverse range of sounds and moods. Upon first listen it comes across as distractingly catchy; the band has a unique ability to blend melodies with abstract sounds and dutiful beats. It’s intriguing, like a strange mysterious neighbour you can’t help but be infatuated with. What are they doing in there? McKenzie’s intricately emotional vocals blended with Huculiak’s skillfully precise percussion and peppered with Menzel’s gritty guitar riffs and tones. It all culminates in an album worth a thousand listens just to scratch the surface: the true test of a work of art.

Grab We Are The City’s Above Club from any of the links on the band’s website here or stream it up above. If you’re in the US or Europe, check out their winter tour dates here. If you’re a local, the band will be playing the 102.7 The Peak stage at Vancouver’s free New Years Eve event this December 31st; their first scheduled Canadian date since the album’s release.

James is a recent graduate of the Marketing Communications program at BCIT, and is extending his time at the institute to earn his BBA. He currently lives in Helsinki, Finland where he is studying for a semester at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

jamesdouglasflory@gmail.com