Review:: The City Streets The Jazz Age

There’s something comforting about hearing a man’s life fall apart. The constant battle between unbridled optimism and epic setback is my favorite part of the human condition. Those life altering moments, not the drunken nights I spent with people I haven’t seen in years, are the one I hold closest. So when Rick Reid puts his life on display, documenting his failures as openly as the true love he pines for, you can’t help but look back on your own life and commiserate.


Make no mistake, The Jazz Age isn’t a collection of nostalgic anthems. Despite the sonic similarities they share the The Gaslight Anthem, The City Streets don’t look back on the best and worst of times with a fondness and kind eye influenced as much by setting as the actual events. Without sounding unpatriotic, few cities in Canada have the singular identity and unwavering pride the citizens of New Jersey radiate. For us, it’s a pride in our nation and for a song to transcend regional borders, it has to connect with the listener emotionally. In Canada, great songs come down to defining moments; heartache, pain, rage, and hurt all bring us together more than daisy dukes and bikinis on top or a New York state of mind.


The Jazz Age is deeper than some songs written to forget your ex and with subtle acknowledgment to Neil Young, Joe Strummer and Elvis Costello (“If I Go Back to Paris”), the trio wear their heroes AND their hearts on their sleeves. Honest, working class emotion, fantastic guitar work, bouncing bass lines, cymbal crashes and sing-along choruses are almost afterthoughts these days, but The City Streets pride themselves in each of those simple punk rock pleasures. That’s probably why the huge sounds and skilled retreats of “Young Runs Out” and the slow burn of “Almost Forgot Your Face” are the type of songs that start speaking for you instead of too you.


The Jazz Age comes off as therapeutic at times, especially when Reid sits alone behind an organ (“White Noise”) or gently strums the acoustic (“The Jazz Age”), but no matter how bad shit gets, the riffs and energy keep Reid (and the listener) from succumbing to the sadness. Even as he manages to lure you in to his drunken melancholy on the Neil Young sounding “Glory Nights”, the bands keeps but keep you moving with some feedback from a distant electric and forces you to look forward with some hope. In fact, as he admits “fuck the war, we’re in love” before the band breaks into a chaotic, string laced outro to end the record, you realize Reid is going to keep fighting and looking for love. The fact he does it all while smoking hash and drinking beers with his friends, makes this song universal and truly Canadian.


Even better… the record is free. So make with the downloading.

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MP3:: The City Streets - Song for Lee



Tags: The City Streets

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 24th, 2010 at 2:38 pm and is filed under Canada, Edmonton, Montreal, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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