City Of Ifa
City of Ifa


3.7
great

Review

by Jacob Royal STAFF
December 15th, 2013 | 45 replies | 8,848 views


Release Date: 12/01/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Breathe in and keep yourself warm, because nobody will do it for you

Even the most unruly acts in City of Ifa’s particular breed of math-inspired post-hardcore have been taking a turn these days, crawling towards this weird concept of “maturity”. This music was born in the hearts of Thomas Erak fanboys and distilled through said fanboys’ bands through a couple key ingredients-- crazy guitar licks, frenetic time signatures and jarring screams to accompany the chaos. And yet lately, this kind of music has become remarkably tamer in the minds of many of the scene’s frontrunners. While math-rock group Tera Melos isn’t exactly in this category, their influence sure is-- the jazz-tinged guitar leads of groups like City of Ifa show all kinds of influence from the group’s earlier days. And yet even Tera Melos are past such complicated music, instead focusing on beachy tunes with vocal melodies the listener would be hard-pressed to forget. So accordingly, City of Ifa have found themselves controlled in 2013-- similar to their influences, and in stark contrast to their earlier records.

This band used to stand out because of how much it loved The Fall of Troy, but something’s different now. Their self-titled album branches out-- it isn’t difficult to hear recent This Town Needs Guns in the melodic stability of this record, and Crash of Rhinos comes to mind because of the joyful aesthetic this album pushes. Furthermore, the inclusion of Henrietta’s Manuel Urdaneta as lead vocalist contributes to the record’s keenly melodic edge. So while this album has an array of influences, it cherry-picks the worthwhile qualities of each to make an album that’s more mature than anything else in City of Ifa’s discography.

The thing about maturity is that it can just as easily come across as sterility. Self Titled is as coherently written as it is homogeneous, an album that’s mostly based upon the same root notes and chord structures. It’s a musical journey written with logic in mind, and as a result, it sticks to what works best. Anyone expecting anything like those killer moments found on the band’s earlier efforts will be disappointed. The best moments are still rewarding, though-- lead single “The Last of the Starmakers” is a highlight the instant its melody kicks in, because it displays the greatest things about this record-- coherency and memorability. Late bloomer “Full Swing” has multiple impressive moments as well: one is a rap from the band's friend Chris Rall that’d make Dance Gavin Dance’s Will Swan swoon, and the other is just the catchiest riff. It’s simple enough, toying with a chord structure we’ve all heard plenty of times-- and yet in this context, it sounds brand new.

In the end Self Titled does experiment, just in subtle ways. The biggest surprise about the record is that it actually contains an instrumental song that pivots around a Lil B sample-- a song that was released several months ago, but wasn’t really taken seriously (at least by me.) It’s the centerpiece of the album here, sitting in the exact middle of its half-hour runtime. It isn’t the song’s existence that’s frustrating-- rather, it’s that the tune is drawn out into five-plus minutes of meandering post-rock that builds, builds and builds… only to sizzle out. But if this is the way City of Ifa is going to hone its sound, at least the band is still making music that fits its overall aesthetic. While “In Your Footsteps” is a curious inclusion to Self Titled, it still shows the emotional virility of the record as what it is-- controlled sentiment, angled in a very particular direction.



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2013



9977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

stream: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/blog/2013/12/01/city-of-ifa-self-titled/

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

MortimusPrime
December 15th 2013



2887 Comments


weirdly know this band from the fact that one of them posted a bunch of sawtooth grin vids on youtube and put a link to cityofifa in the description saying it was his band

Digging: The Contortionist - Exoplanet

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2013



9977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

huh that's cool. must have been Paul, he's actually the one that does everything minus vocals. City of Ifa is very much a one-man band

TheSpirit
December 15th 2013



17130 Comments


this piques my interest

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2013



5903 Comments


Excellent summary, will read and listen asap.


Edit (12/26): Great review, mindpos. Listened to the stream and I know now what math rock sounds like.

Digging: The Golden Grass - The Golden Grass

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2013



9977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

I'd say thanks but that's actually a lyric from this album =] further reason for you to check it out I guess.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2013



5903 Comments


Album lyrics are an abundant source for review summaries.

Azn.
December 15th 2013



5557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dig this album a good amount

surprised you didn't rate this higher omaha

Digging: Trophy Scars - Never Born, Never Dead

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2013



7136 Comments


Excellent summary, will read and listen asap.

Hahaha if that isn't a huge "haven't-read-this-yet-but-I-wanna-comment-anyway" then I don't know what is lol XD

Kman418
December 15th 2013



9811 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

blue shoes>>>>

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2013



9977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

asianguy (lol) - i do really dig this, and maybe my review didn't make it clear enough but this album is kinda too homogeneous to really stick with me. i do love what he does here, but the album tends to leave me after i turn it off. what a fun ride while it's on, though

and Kman, maybe but they're so different mannn



Kman418
December 15th 2013



9811 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

thats the thing the reason i liked blue shoes was how crazy and uncontrolled it was, like they would completely change up the entire structure of a song 6 or 7 times within a single track and yet somehow they still made it all flow and work together

in comparison this just seems so incredibly straight forward

ProjectFreak
December 15th 2013



1290 Comments


" math-inspired post-hardcore "
this intrigues me

"recommended by reviewer
TTNG 13.0.0.0.0
Tera Melos X'ed Out"

this does not

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2013



9977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

this is def more straight forward but I don't mind that one bit. we got Blue Shoes for crazy shit!

and Freak just check out a few songs from the stream I posted, see what you think.

paradox1216
December 16th 2013



429 Comments


really enjoying this so far. especially with how subdued the vocals are in the mix. that was my main problem with the new DGD, vox being too loud

Digging: Braid - No Coast

Azn.
December 16th 2013



5557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not so much subdued as it is BALANCED :DD

ProjectFreak
December 16th 2013



1290 Comments


Stream's no longer available =/

swordsforhands
December 16th 2013



388 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome band, record and amazing dudes as well. Saw them a year ago with All The Best Tapes in Amsterdam, both put on a killer show.

Ecnalzen
December 16th 2013



6398 Comments


Good ol' Omaha review.

Sounds pre coo. Will check.

Edit: Stream is on their bandcamp: http://cityofifa.bandcamp.com/

Digging: O.C. and Apollo Brown - Trophies

oldsoul
December 18th 2013



71 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listened to this a couple times now, pretty cool stuff. I feel like your review nails it pretty well, Omaha.

Digging: How to Dress Well - What Is This Heart?



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