Haunting new single ‘Stay’ from Useless Cities will pull you into an almost dystopian musical experience. Emerging from almost a Capella hair-raising beginnings, and rising triumphantly into full-band glory.

Useless Cities have only recently emerged into the indie scene, however this does not mean that their music is by any means ‘amateurish’, as the new track ‘Stay’ demonstrates; with peaks and troughs that make the track an interesting listen, promising beginnings for such a young band. The single itself ranges between something that wouldn’t sound out of place in a The National album, but then smashes this in the chorus, feeling like perhaps a more sedated Alvvays track, with repetitive – but effective vocals – catchy and atmospheric keys, and intelligently postured delay effects on guitar.

The track opens humbly with the muffled key loop, slowly and surely getting louder and clearer with a solitary note from guitar echoing through and bringing the hi-hats in signalling the true beginning of the track. The simple, but well-thought out guitar riff, with the addition of the delay and the keys, create an almost-psychedelic aspect, before unexpectedly dying out into the verse where the lone vocals take the lead. Conny’s line  “I thought you’d go, but then you stayed”, is juxtaposed by Tom’s bass vocals (similar to Interpol)”you won’t believe this”, the simplistic nature of the repetitive vocals does work to create the building atmosphere of the track to some extent, before the delay-filled guitar takes charge bringing the song back to the faster paced chorus. This then repeats itself before one by one each instrument fades out and we return to the stripped back verse, ending with drum fill and a singular, poignant bass note. Almost as if the song has come round full circle, perhaps representative of its cyclical nature.

‘Stay’ is certainly an excellent track for a first EP from Useless Cities, the technical use of delay has been mentioned several times for a reason, as well as the mixed, unusual vocals which perhaps at times break up the repetitive nature of the song. The track is certainly worth a listen for the use of atmospheric build-up and memory-evoking chorus. Keep an eye out for Useless Cities.

Written by Laurie Rowland




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