Review Summary: A highly unrefined but still entirely enjoyable collection of material from one of the best emo bands of all time.
City of Caterpillar’s self-titled LP is undoubtedly their definitive work, and it’s certainly the music that fans of the band typically associate with them. Though the band had plenty of songs that never got recorded, arguably their best material was showcased on that album. “Demo + Live Recordings” is the only other album released by them, excluding a split with Pg. 99, and although it’s not as enjoyable of a listen as their self-titled album, it’s still a strong collection of songs that features some interesting early takes on some of their more well-known work.
The album opens with a demo version of their self-titled’s A Heart Filled Reaction to Dissatisfaction
. It’s an interesting listen, as it’s clearly a much less refined version. The vocal delivery and lyrics aren’t as strong, and for anyone who’s listened to the LP’s version extensively, the difference sounds rather strange. Afterwards we get Shadows of Ghosts Passing In City Streets
, a strong song that is perhaps not as memorable as some of the band’s other material.
The first of a series of untitled tracks, Three
features plenty of amp noise accompanying some cool guitar work. Four
features some spoken vocals, which is interesting, but otherwise it’s completely forgettable, while Five
features the kind of dramatic instrumental work fans expect from the band. It starts off slow before speeding up and eventually transforming into an aggressive assault of guitar noise, drums and screams. It’s a strong track that might have felt at home on “City of Caterpillar”.
Aside from these tracks, the album features a number of live tracks, in case you needed any proof that City of Caterpillar kicked ass live. But overall, the album feels very much like what it is: a collection of unfinished material. There are some really fantastic tracks on here, and the live tracks are certainly welcome, but it’s not hard to see why most of this didn’t make it onto the band’s full length. Regardless of that fact, these tracks are still strong as demos go, and they prove to be interesting listens.