Review Summary: comfortably familiar yet intriguingly different
Admit it, for as much as we all like to believe that the screamo and emo genres are something that's original, they are actually pretty stagnant. With the exception of whether a band's approach is atmospheric or violent, chances are their sound doesn't fall too much from the mark of dozens of other bands that formed based on the same aesthetic that's been drifting around in the punk underground for almost as long as this current generation of fans and bands have been alive. But lets face it, the way that a band approaches this collection of similar influences can make all the difference. Ohio's CityCop have all the markings of a quality screamo/emo band – hyperactive drumming, guitar work that switches effortlessly from jagged tremolo picked chords to fluid hammer-ons and back again, and emotive vocals – but they way that they present this familiar make up is actually quite unique.
You see, CityCop are an acoustic band. There's no distorted crunch or tube-driven squeal to be heard on their debut The Hope in Forgiving and Giving Up Hope
, which given that guitar based theatrics that rely on a plethora of electric tones have become one of the genre's calling cards as of late, and since those same theatrics are on display here, CityCop have completely flipped the script on this recurring dynamic. It is comfortably familiar yet intriguingly different; a classical flair to a new school catharsis. Songs like “Hink Hall” move like a ballroom dance, elegantly choreographed by the interplay between guitarist Max Adam's whirling lead lines and vocalist Edward Gancos' serrated bark. This sense of motion permeates The Hope in Forgiving and Giving Up
and grows more and more as the album progresses, and when coupled with themes of apprehension and growing up found in the lyrics, this forward movement evolves into a head on confrontation with life itself.
The Hope in Forgiving and Giving Up Hope
is a captivating listen that tweaks the core sounds of the genre that we are used to in the most pleasing of ways. While it would be foolishly presumptuous and flippant to say that CityCop have reinvented the emotive hardcore wheel, what they have offered up on their debut certainly re-envisions it.