The Districts – Popular Manipulations (album review)

by Woody on August 9, 2017


Photo Credit – Pooneh Ghana

The Districts are one of the best young bands out there today and one of the best live acts you’ll have the pleasure of seeing live. After 2015’s A Flourish And A Spell, my hopes for Popular Manipulations were pretty high. In my mind, I wanted another dozen ripping bluesy Americana tracks with Rob Grote pouring his soul out.

But upon first listen, Popular Manipulations was different. Grote’s vocals sounded different. Song structures didn’t sound similar. Synths were introduced. Like a spoiled child, I was pissed. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it now. Yet after a few listens, it slowly started to connect; the growth of the band and the brilliance of the album started to show its face to me. Upon reflection, it was eerily similar to my reaction towards Z after It Still Moves; another album that I was put off upon first listen.

The band veers towards a more indie rock sounding album; bands that came to mind were Wolf Parade and Modest Mouse. Two bands I’ve always respected it but would never call myself a massive fan. Upon the many spins, the tunes that jumped out at me were Violet – a tune that seamlessly works synths into the fuzzy, swirling guitars of Grote and Pat Cassidy. The track captures the angst of Grote with more ups and downs than a mountain range.

Point is another blistering track. Sounds blend into each other, around each other, fight with each other as Grote fires off his lyrics. It is a hot mess of a tune that captures the mood of the lyrics so well. Every time I listen to it, I envision Grote flailing around the stage. The penultimate track, Rattling Of the Heart, has a is built on a haunting guitar lick before emerging into something dark, yet beautiful.

These guys are one of the best young band out there today. Their live show is something to behold. Popular Manipulations might have gave me pause at first, but sometimes the great albums do.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

The Districts are here

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

David Jones August 13, 2017 at 3:33 am

good luck guys.

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