City Sleeps – Not An Angel
By Rikki O.
Ely Dye: Vocals
Adriel Garcia: Lead Guitar
Brady: Bass (departed in 2008)
The portrait of a city sleeping, and the lonely individuals who lie awake with all their mistakes and broken hearts in those endless dark hours are the images I began with when I popped in the 2007 Trustkill release by Atlanta’s own City Sleeps. The CD begins with “Hotel”, a minute long intro track that is an elegy to exactly such a sentiment; vocalist Ely Dye laments over and over “All the things I’ve done…” atop a multi-layered musical arrangement that beckons the listener to press their ear to the dark hotel room wall and eavesdrop, even if only for a moment.
From this point on, until the aptly titled last track, “Check Out”, City Sleeps lays out ten wildly accessible accounts of those things that keep them tossing and turning at night. Super-producer John Feldmann (Goldfinger, Good Charlotte, the Used, and err… Hilary Duff) clearly saw major radio rotation in these guy’s future, for while the seamless production leaves no room for the spontaneity and creative juice of punk/rock, it does ensure that teenage girls around the world are absolutely going to fall all over themselves when they hear it. Even I found myself surprised to be singing along in earnest on my second listen to the forth track, “Not An Angel”; from then on City Sleeps had me paying MUCH closer attention to a band that had somehow infiltrated my psyche with a catchiness that is both infectious and fun.
The lyrics on the album, while not exactly pedantic, do have shining moments and quite obviously cater to their target audience with just enough danger (“Daddy’s girl isn’t coming home tonight/Your morphine lips are gonna be a painkiller” – from “Ordinary High”) to titillate the squeaky clean minds of the newest MTV generation. Seriously, if City Sleeps does not become THE-NEXT-BIG-THING then someone, somewhere has dropped the ball. Their song “Catch Me”, which is not on this album, has already been featured on the movie soundtrack for Resident Evil: Extinction as well as the almighty Nascar. These guys are the perfect blend of tattoos, angst, and mainstream accessibility that fuels the adrenaline pumped soundtrack of our culture, and they do it with both style and effortless potency.
Ely Dye’s vocals are adept and wide reaching, never straining on the high notes and versatile enough to go from power-train to ballad with ease. Adriel Garcia’s lead guitar style is energetic and full of surprises. From kinetic tracks like “Prototype” and “Ordinary High” to the beautiful and sad “Sleep with Me