The Districts – A Flourish and a Spoil
The Districts are a four-piece band from Lititz, Pennsylvania, formed while all the members were still in high school. Now on their second album, they are all still under 21. The album’s first track, 4th and Roebling, evokes early era-Strokes: lead singer Rob Grote’s vocals having that same insouciance of Julian Casablancas’, the same resonant, cracked power. The driving, heavy guitar riff starts up, making you sit up and listen, and then Grote laments: “I ain’t the same anymore, I ain’t the same from before”.
The album’s flamboyant title suggests a band who have a clear vision. The album is rock with a bluesy/country flavour: it’s lo-fi, with transparent production and raw edges. It’s not trying too hard and yet it makes its presence known.
Hounds blasts out the lyric “hounds in my head” over and over again against a rambling musical backdrop, to great effect. There is a change of pace on the more relaxed, laidback Sing the Song. Suburban Smell sees them ruminating on suburbia with just an acoustic guitar and understated vocal. The lyrics describe people “drunk on suburban smell…I am not like them, I’m sick of that suburban smell”. It’s short and quiet, but lyrically the most interesting song on the album. The itchy follower, Bold, also intrigues.
Some of the songs lack clarity and definition, but this is an album with great potential. The Districts are certainly not lacking in ambition, as the nearly nine-minute long Young Blood demonstrates. There the band really stretch their playing: you get a sense that they’re only getting started, and wonder what they might achieve in the future. Closing track 6 AM is another simple but mournful track and shows Grote in more melodic territory. A band to watch.
A Flourish and A Spoil was released on 9th February 2015, for further information or order the album visit here.
Watch the video for 4th and Roebling here: