Straight from the heart of Montreal, QC, Citylake is a group whose third EP, To Love Or Not To Care, was released this past February. The five-song album features instrumentation and lyrics that show the dark and gloomy side of alternative-rock. Citylake uses this tone to cohesively string all these songs together, and although the vibe they’re going for isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, it still makes for a clearly painted picture for the listener to enjoy.
One of the first things I noticed as the strumming electric guitar in “Sons Of The Soil” kicked off the EP is that it sounds great. Producer/engineer Fred Bouchard has done a fantastic job piecing all the instruments together in the mix. Even Martin Saint, who isn’t the strongest vocalist, is placed at the front-and-centre of everything without feeling too vulnerable. A few of Saint’s lyrics stand out because of this and, while some are well crafted, others are sometimes the demise of the song itself. I often find myself wanting to skip “My Eyes In Your Room” and “The Ugly City” based on just how repetitive the wording is. Specifically on the former, the phrases “My Eyes” or “In Your/This Room” are sung on nearly every single line, and it really gets under my skin by the end of the 3 and a half minute tune. On the upside, although the lyrical delivery may not appeal to me, that almost-psychotic amount of repetition further paints that dark tone that never quite leaves the EP.
Musically, To Love Or Not To Care is pretty typical of rock and roll. Julie Abel’s keyboard playing does stand out in the sense that it gives a modern and almost electronic edge to some of these songs that would otherwise sound like they’re stuck in a different decade, and once again, the band sounds great together under Bouchard’s producing knowledge. Despite its flaws, To Love Or Not To Care is certainly an EP I’d recommend checking out for fans of rock and roll with a bit of a darker twist.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy