Independent outlook /// City Reign ‘Another Step’ [Album] 2013

City Reign live at The Deaf InstituteManchester-based alternative indie collective City Reign are going through a very exciting period in the band’s life: the release of the debut album and the respective rise of the general buzz around the band. Releasing a debut album can be a stressful, and apparently, a crucial thing in any music career, but City Reign have nothing to worry about: their debut ‘Another Step’ is the expressive embodiment of the band’s unique character.

‘Another Step’ is crafted with the maturity often atypical for a debut album. City Reign have enough confidence not to hide behind layers of computer tweaking, but on the contrary choose to bring out everything natural their musicianship has to offer. Recorded in Salford’s Sacred Trinity Church ‘Another Step’ brings out the natural depth of City Reign’s guitar-driven sound together with its lively reverb and vivacious excitement. There’s nothing over-fancy in the song structures, butCity Reign Another Step opting to be simpler rather than fancier, City Reign show their power as a band, who lay their talent bare to make the best impression possible. In shimmering guitars and clear rhythm section there flow natural air and beauty of alternative indie music, as well as the identity of City Reign which brought them recognition from UK and European audiences. There are both – calmness and explosiveness on ‘Another Step’, but both are performed in the golden middle without being too brash or too shy. ‘Anchor’, ‘Making Plans’ or ‘Stay Where You Are’ take listeners to upbeat shores of ‘Another Step’, while ‘Sleep Easy’, ‘Ahead Of Ideas’ or ‘The Line’ are more intense, toned down and electric. And, of course, there’s a terrific ‘Retaliate’ with impressive string instruments, a classy touch and delicacy running through the track. Double layers of vocals make the experience more surreal by adding echoing dimension, transparency and clarity to the sound.

Eclectic and excellently crafted ‘Another Step’ is the mission statement from City Reign – the debut worth taking notice of and offering a lot to enjoy. This is the record which took not a short route to taking its shape, but crafted in the manner that makes all the waiting worthwhile.

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