The Districts – A Flourish And A Spoil [album review]

by Woody on February 10, 2015


photo by Ryan Farber

Too much is being made of how old these guys are. Hell, I’ve been guilty of it as well. But the truth is, A Flourish And A Spoil would be a great album whether these guys were 20 or 50. After bursting on to the scene with this video of Funeral Beds and a banner SXSW 2014, the boys put off college and signed to Fat Possum. With lofty expectations, they hit the studio with John Congleton who did a great job of capturing the real angst of growing up in a small town with production that is both raw and brash. This isn’t some made for MTV bullshit angst. I got kids closer to their age and even I can relate to lead singer, Rob Grote’s lyrics. His lyrics stir shit up that I haven’t thought of for years, and now can begin to worry about as my kids enter into their teen years.

There are many of great influences throughout the album but the two that I hear prominently are the two bands that emerged out of NYC at the same time – The Walkmen & The Strokes. The shimmery guitar sounds that were the hallmark of so many great Walkmen tracks are present throughout. The lead single, 4th & Roebling do a nice job of blending both without aping either?

On the 2nd part of the album, there are a couple of great tracks that are polar opposites. The acoustic track, Suburban Smell, sounds like it was recorded with cell phone. It is so perfectly gritty as Grote details the bullying of the “retard” and basically slams the “in” crowd.

A few tunes later, The Districts uncork the best track they’ve done and what will be the centerpiece of their live show for years to come. Clocking in at almost nine minutes, Young Blood is fucking brilliant. It starts off your standard rock tune of young lost love, complete with fuzzed out squealing guitars churning away. But at four minutes, everything goes haywire as the tune is melted down to its core and then ferociously put back together as Grote maniacally sings – Long way down from the top to the bottom / It’s a long way back to a high from where I am. And just when you think, “Fuck!!! That was pretty awesome,” they uncork a blistering guitar solo as the outro that owes a nod to MMJ.

Funeral Beds put The Districts on the map. A Flourish And A Spoil planted a big fucking flag on the map announcing that they were here to stay.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

The Districts are here

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