BY MICHAEL TOLAND
The membership of City of Ships may be divided by two cities (Austin and Brooklyn), but the trio is united in its purpose: to re-energize ‘90s guitar rock. Not the post-grunge thuggery that passed for radio rock in 1997, mind you, but the postpunk-influenced heavy rock proffered by the likes of Quicksand, Chavez, Jawbox and other gangs of ex-hardcore kids trying to balance tunefulness and dissonance.
“Private Party,” “Hardwired” and “Metadata Blues” pit Eric Jernigan’s grunge-soaked guitars and gritty vocal melodies over Eric Soelzer’s hyperactive kit-bashing and the occasional teeth-gritting roar. Vocal harmonies sweeten clashing guitar melodies on “Illawarra Escarpment,” while “Mile High” divebombs the singing with pounding chords and rhythm. “Preeminence” is the kind of singalong air guitar anthem that reminds you why rock radio felt revitalized for a brief moment in the early ‘90s.
Folks who never cottoned to this strain of guitar rock won’t be swayed by the like of City of Ships, alas. But fans will be happy to hear that it’s alive and well and in good hands.
DOWNLOAD: “Preeminence,” “Private Party,” “Mile High”