Above Club is an enthusiastically unconventional record and is all the more beautiful because of this. This not We Are the City’s first record or experience in the creative and artistic scene. In fact, the trio of fellows Cayne McKenzie (keys and vocals), Andrew Huculiak (drums), and David Menzel (guitar) are not only musicians but are simultaneously script writers, film makers and directors. Having these talents allows the group to take hold of their music in every way possible and portray it visually to the world with 100% control. They directed an accompanying film for their last album, Violent and have directed both evocative and fantastical videos for “Keep on Dancing” and “Kiss Me, Honey.” Both tracks are equally as exceptional but completely separate entities, like each track on Above Club. Another noteworthy detail regarding the new record is that it was recorded via a live stream during October. This allowed fans to observe the band in their natural habitat and attain greater insight into the world of Above Club.
The record commences with the curious track which owns up to its lengthy title, “Take Your Picture With Me While You Still Can.” A song the perfectly captures and utilizes Cayne’s distinct and powerful voice and describes the realization that we change as humans. We’re often times not who we thought we were going to be. To me, “Take Your Picture With Me While You Still Can” is saying something along the lines of ‘capture me before I change again.’
An underlying theme in this record is maintaining optimism and confidence in the face of trying times throughout life. We Are the City harness the attitudes and sentiments that are the origin of this optimism and confidence and deliver it song form. “Keep on Dancing” an obvious favorite of mine for many reasons displays the theme of the record in crystal clear form. This depth and complexity of this song becomes more apparent when paired with the video:
Cayne touches on all the distracting moments in life, the overwhelming feeling and anxiety, claustrophobia that comes with life sometimes. Being tugged and stretched in so many different directions, being bombarded by the media, family and friends telling you what’s right, wrong, just or unfair. The mind can become a thorny, tangled and dense place very quickly:
Worse and worse until my head’s filled up with advice
Gotta keep on dancing
Other tracks like “Club Music” are more abstract on the ear. Interesting and intricate almost warlike or tribal rhythms are the backdrop for Cayne’s commanding vocals. The intensity and strength build during the song until near the end, he’s shouting with a sense of desperation:
Please let dance music start after we have time to get messed up
And if you let it, tears will still come
The album closes with “Lovers in All Things” followed by the magnificent “Kiss Me, Honey.” Quirky and with peculiar cadence and rhythm “Lovers in All Things” leads dreamily into “Kiss Me, Honey” another track that blossoms when taken in conjunction with the video. Cayne sings while his head ticks almost unctrollably of undeniable love that befuddles, confuses and consumes:
Kiss me, Honey like you mean and repeat it and repeat it
Here and now, I can’t figure it out
This song is a beautiful and triumphant close to the masterpiece that is, Above Club.
You can buy Above Club and other music by We Are the City on iTunes.