The Seattle hardcore punk crew City of Industry sound superbly hard-hitting on their new album False Flowers, available now from Amerikan Aesthetics.
The record twists and shakes with fist-pumping fury, and the rich dynamics that City of Industry have incorporated into their work give the album an off-kilter and somewhat demented feeling. The album feels like desperately rushing after a passerby and seeking some assistance after a long period of streetside wandering while inexplicably lost — then discovering that the passerby was an illusion all along, with little left besides ominously expansive imagination for company.
This emotional cycle of bursting, abrasive tension repeats throughout the music of City of Industry, and the kind of scenario that False Flowers reflects seems to unfold within some dank city alley where external signs of life seem conspicuously absent while internal mental turmoil just gets louder and louder. False Flowers feels raggedly raw, like a portrait of lurches of desperation without a real sense of catharsis in sight, as if suddenly clutching one’s own face in a desperate panic at the image in a mirror.
The desperation-wracked, urgent dynamics across the instrumentation and vocals occasionally sound like an especially aggressive version of La Dispute-style post-hardcore. The latter half of the title track features this feeling, with further soulfully-inclined, comparatively restrained riffing emerging on “Broken Cisterns Hold No Water” and “I, Who Sleeps In Darkness,” with the former featuring a slow, drama-inducing tempo. “Alt. Gisney” feels atmospherically ominous, with a steadily propulsive drum rhythm and a hoarse blanket of riffing. Other songs, like “The Architect,” sit somewhere between melody-centric restraint and confrontational bursts of belted out hardcore. That particular track packs some beefy swagger.
City of Industry sound like they’d be exhilarating to see at a live performance, with an avalanche of hoarse emotional energy falling throughout their music. Their intermingling of exhausted emotion and raging intensity leaves both sides amplified.
Featured Image via Christian Banfield
Vocalist Ossa Humiliata provided a track-by-track breakdown for False Flowers — scroll down to read it! Besides Ossa Humiliata on vocals, guitar, piano, and synth, City of Industry features Jack Thompson on bass and Pablo Lara on drums, both of whom also contribute backing vocals.
Listen to False Flowers below!
Check out the track-by-track breakdown:
“Kronstadt”: This song was a completely new undertaking for us. To me it sort of set a tone for the album. In the studio when our friend Evan Uebelacker was tracking the viola lead for it, we were all up in the mixing room with chills just staring at each other without saying a word, because we all knew that in that moment something was being made that we would all hold so dearly for the rest of our lives.
“False Flowers”: As the title track, it holds a special place with us. It was a first for us to have such an elongated song. Three movements, if you will, all tied together by not much more than lyrics and some common chords. To us, it all makes great sense and we couldn’t be happier with how it came out.
“Equinox”: The lyrics for this song came way before the music was written. Jack and I were working in a kitchen when we met. After getting back into music and shifting my focus from painting and visual art to lyricism and COI, my brain rewired and I couldn’t keep up with retaining small ideas that I had at work and knew I’d forget before I got home. So at that job I began carrying around a mini 4″x3″ composition notepad in my pocket, and throughout the day I would jot down whatever ideas, lines or poems would come to me, so as to really harness the power of these little twinkles of inspiration that got me through the work day.
“Alt. Gisney”: When I was a child I watched a lot of old Disney movies and cartoons, as I’m sure most kids my age group did. I also grew up 20 minutes from Disneyland, and we went at least once a year growing up. When I moved to Seattle in 2011, I found myself living on my own with no family around and not too many friends, I watched the same few Disney movies over and over and over for years in my apartment with my cat. No matter how lonely I felt, or how overwhelmed I was with being in a new state jumping from job to job, I always had Disney movies to comfort me. Watching them felt like putting on a warm blanket and feeling like I hadn’t a care in the world.
It didn’t occur to me until around that time that while growing up, I always saw the “D” in the Disney logo as a G. I still do to this day and no matter how hard I try, I can’t really see it as a D. I used Disney Imagery in this song to be almost an anti-comfort. This song is the antithesis of how Disney makes me feel.
“Cabbages And Kings”: This song was a sort of content follow-up to Alt. Gisney. I wasn’t satisfied with not further elaborating on the Disney theme from a different angle. The inspiration from this song comes from Alice In Wonderland. Allegorical notions of transcendent principles.
“The Body Is A Faithless, Fleeting Friend”: By contrast, this is definitely THE ballad, for lack of a better term, on this album. It also happens to be the track we are least thrilled on; but oddly enough, almost everyone who has heard the album prior to release has gone out of their way to comment on how much they love it.
“Your Rope, Europe”: This song was one of the first written for this album. The main riff was actually a part of the batch of songs I wrote for our last album, Conspire Conspire Conspire. I ended up mothballing it and I’m glad I did.
“The Architect”: Out of all of the fast d-beat/ more punk leaning songs COI has written this one is special to me. Lyrically and melodically, I couldn’t be happier with how it came out.
“Broken Cisterns Hold No Water”: This is by far all of our favorite song on the album. I’m not a technical musician and I know oh so very little music theory. So when I heard the solo I wrote on the final mix, I was super proud, and urged my band mates to henceforth refer to me as David, or Mr. Gilmour. Needless to say, it didn’t stick.
“What A Time To Be Alive”: The end of this song almost didn’t make the cut. I had an idea of drums slowly breaking down and somehow transitioning the song from hardcore to a sort of spacey, airy prog interlude that would then lead to “I, Who Sleeps In Darkness.” The ball was basically in Pablo’s court and I made it very clear that if it didn’t feel right, that there was no way I’d record it. Sure enough, Pablo came through like a beast, as per usual, and laid the groundwork for Jack and I to build on in order to make this pleasing to our ears.
“I, Who Sleeps In Darkness”: The couple months leading up to recording this song stressed me out the most. I loved the song, but am not a good singer, and I didn’t feel as if my usual yelling approach would do this song justice. At a couple practices before recording, I had Jack play the verse riff on guitar over and over and I just stood there attempting to write a vocal melody and stay in tune. It was awful. All I can say is thank goodness for studio magic.
“Embracing The Morals Of The Pig”: Near the tail end of the writing process for this album, I felt the album lacked some old COI power-violence type girth. I sort of threw it in the mix last minute. It was specifically placed where it lands on the album for obvious reasons. We needed to balance the books here.
“The Vain, His Vanity”: I am not a country fan by any means. Timber Timbre or Bob Dylan is the closest you’ll catch me listening to in that general ballpark. I did not go out of my way to write this song; It wrote itself, for lack of a better term. We knew it had to be the album closer, but I didn’t want the album to finish on that note. Once the d-beat was recorded and placed at the tail end, I was ecstatic with how it contrasted — and with the piano outro, us and our production team felt it summed up the record well and we can stand by that 100 percent.