Review Summary: How bright do these city lights shine?7 of 7 thought this review was well written
There seems to be an inner battle between the different styles pop punk portrays and the fans that are divided by these lines. Those unfamiliar with the genre usually declare that it's all the same in every way, shape, and form. This couldn’t be further from the truth as the new generation are experimenting with metalcore which is splitting the community apart as to what is acceptable in the field. The uprising of hybrid acts have so far either met critical acclaim or been cast aside as a cancer amongst the closed-minded.
I personally fall somewhere in the middle of this argument, as within any branch of splicing, there are those who pull it off tastefully and those who make it a laughing stock affair. Columbus, Ohio’s City Lights dwell in a blurred area of those who are attempting to give focus to a movement that bands like A Day To Remember have distorted. It wasn’t too long ago that this relatively unknown outfit released their first EP entitled Rock Like A Party Star
, and the six tracks put a positive spin on the damage done by others trying to cash in.
The songs followed a basic pattern of melodic feel good jams about friendship, heartache, and the occasional posi number meant to give people hope. There’s honestly not much of a difference with the full length In It To Win It
other than the production along with the song writing has seen a big boost. I kinda do get the feeling City Lights is taking on the “if you can’t beat them, join them” method by adding more chugs but it's rationed out with purpose.
The opening track with a by the book build up of chunky riffs into a breakdown chant probably won't start off on a good foot with so called purists. Thankfully, the overwhelming feeling that this may be headed in a stale direction does a complete 180 by the time ‘Hang Out,' one of the three welcomed and updated EP editions to cross over, begins. The rest of the album can be described as a mixed bag of goodies that teeter between the aforementioned combination.
The fact that this more frequent addition to their sound is carried out in a manner that can be taken seriously is refreshing. In It to Win It’s
incredibly infectious and uplifting single, ‘Where You’ve Been,’ showcases a perfect example of how City Lights believably executes where others have failed without hampering their ideals in the process. After all, "don’t listen when anyone doubts your ability to be successful/the greatest pleasure in life is doing what they say you can not do."
There’s no doubt that the lyrical themes will be a universal bridge to all who lend an ear, regardless of background. ‘Please Let Me Know’ deals with the wish to hold on to those nostalgic moments that make us feel at home . ‘My Entire Life’ expresses those we may have fallen for the hardest and how they will always hold a special place in our hearts. Naturally, with any life experience who can’t relate to the bitter side of love in ‘Lawnmower,’ "and I just wanted you to know that every time I see that movie/I think of all the time and money I wasted on you." The acoustic version that is featured as the closing track is aslo beautifully crafted and reveals a softer side of the band.
In the face of slight indifferences those may hold within In It To Win It
, it’s still loaded with a commendable spirit. This is rarely comparable to a variety of other groups these guys will unfortunately be lumped in with but for now that just leaves more room for them to dominate. So as for how bright City Lights will shine, that remains to be seen, but at the moment the bulbs glow is radiant enough to outline promise.