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A Flourish and a Spoil: An Album Review

 

Straight outta the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania, The Districts is a group of four guys that have been playing together since they entered high school in 2009. I discovered the band on a whim last year in October at Turner Hall in Milwaukee, when they played with Sun Club, and I have been hooked on them ever since.

Their style has a hint of folk to their otherwise unique, alternative/indie sound. The bass was probably one of the first things I noticed on my first listen. It’s very effect-heavy, but stays distinct, unlike many other modern rock bands. The bass parts are complex, unique and refreshing. The vocals are very powerful and raw, but don’t sound shout-y, which is often difficult to pull off. The lyrical style is honest and heartfelt, and immensely poetic, all the while keeping it somewhat vague. The rhythm and lead guitar play off each other nicely, especially with the more complex melodies on songs like Young Blood and Chlorine. The drums are a mix of an electronic and acoustic kit, which produces a more modern sound. Seeing The Districts live was amazing.

I have a lot of praises for this record. I thought the length of it was adequate, and it was well-produced. The songs are all well-written and the band seems to have truly mastered their sound, as there’s no songs that are unlistenable. However, they don’t take any risks with the songwriting, which can sometimes lead to everything sounding the same. I’d have to say that the lo-fi microphone the singer uses should have been changed for the acoustic tracks like Suburban Smell and 6am. It seems a bit out of place and a bit grating and I would have rather had more crisp and clear vocals for those tracks.

Some songs seemed to have some mixing issues in certain points, especially in 6 am. Maybe that’s the sound they were going for, but it seemed somewhat amateur, which is unfitting for the band.

I found the order of the tracks very engaging, starting off high-energy, but then dropping to become more relaxed and downtempo towards the end, especially with the almost 9-minute ballad, Young Blood. 6 am, however, felt tacked onto the end, and I personally would have preferred the record to end on Young Blood, like when I saw them play live.

This is a band to definitely keep an eye on, as they gain more popularity. The band’s recently-released third album, A Flourish and a Spoil, is up for grabs online or at your favorite record shop, so pick it up if you see it; you won't regret it.

 

Favorite Tracks: Hounds, Young Blood, 4th and Roebling, Bold

Weakest Tracks: 6 am, Suburban Smell

Overall Rating: 7 / 10

 Recommended if you like: The Alabama Shakes, Sun Club, Dr. Dog, Young the Giant, Beach House, The War On Drugs, Heartless Bastards, Real Estate, Father John Misty

 

Jack Ring

April, 2016