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Album Review: Raccoon City Police Department - 'Nightlife'

2 June 2014 | 12:44 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A small-time band with a far from amateur release now under their belts.

The thing about music these days is that, mostly due to the miracles of social media and online music spaces, anyone can do it. Bandcamp and Facebook are platforms for instant access to creative control, as well as an infinite space for sharing music with the people who want to hear it. Amidst an unfortunate clutter of poorly thought out, slap-dash records, Nightlight by Raccoon City Police Department (or Raccoon City for short) is the quality amongst the quantity. Not just another one of those post-hardcore imitations, Nightlife is inspiring and innovative, and a sublime reminder that an open mind and attention to detail goes a long way generally, as well as online.

There are songs on this record, like the dissonant and immediately agitating ‘Lungs,’ and ‘Slumlord’ which are both alienating and melodically engaging, essentially amounting to a sassy ‘that’s how it’s done’ to post-hardcore bands out there trying to pull off what RCPD do effortlessly. As per post-hardcore usual, there is an endless supply of sharp and eloquently delivered melodic riffs on tracks like ‘All Life Is Lost,’ and ‘Twelve’ and the lead’s sharp, rampant screeching, which often overwhelms the melody in an unhinged hysteria, is countered by a raspy, clean vocal delivery on tracks like ‘Witch House.’

Nightlife is delivered thoughtfully and always with an attentive approach to the elements of their genre, not wishing to compromise, at any point, the emotion impact, nor their ability as musicians. Even in tracks like ‘Passage’ where the instrumentals are sonically demanding and the vocals are sickly and raw, RCPD manage to make every moment on this record utterly engaging. The only thing that might disengage listeners at any point are the misplaced guitar solos, which, on eerie tracks like ‘Witch House’ and ‘Twelve’ prove to be kind of excessive.

Beyond the structural realms of post-hardcore, RCPD incorporate influences ranging from hip-hop to metal. Without pushing the walls of post-hardcore beyond reason, the band experiments with a steady beat and rhythmic style on ‘Passage’ and ‘Twelve,’ downright catchy riffs on ‘Slumlord’ and with atmospheric, electronic elements on the tail ends of tracks like ‘Starting to See’ and ‘Witch House.’ ‘Starting To See’ is one of the more quietly melodic tracks on the record. It’s melancholic and listless and the lyrics ‘everybody’s miserable like me’ embodies the indecisive hopelessness of Nightlife.

At times, Nightlife is instantly accessible (see the leading guitar riffs on ‘Lungs’ and ‘Slumlord’), but there are also moments where the raw, frenetic vocal delivery breaches the point where they make sense with the instruments, and tracks like the final offering ‘Twelve’ become a torrent of noise and power. Nevertheless, between the manic yelps, and the flawlessly executed melodies, RCPD succeeds in producing a post-hardcore record to be adored.

1. Lungs

2. All Life Is Lost

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3. Witch House

4. Passage

5. Sumlord

6. Starting To See

7. Twelve