The Districts are back, releasing their third album ‘Popular Manipulations’ on the 11th of August. The Pennsylvanian quartet’s previous album ‘A Flourish and a Spoil’ was released back in 2015 so fans have been waiting eagerly to hear what the band have been working on tirelessly for the past couple of years.
The album opens with ‘If Before I Wake’, a slightly dark ballad, beginning with monotonously spoken lyrics which contrasts with the power behind Grote’s voice during the chorus. This song is packed full of emotion, complemented by heavy synth and guitar sounds. Grote spoke about how the song was written shortly after a storm and how the band used this idea as inspiration behind the lyrics; the band also experimented with different chord changes and “droning notes” to give it more of a unique sound.
Slightly later in the album comes ‘Ordinary Day’ which speaks about how much the world and the people around you have changed; Grote explains it as “sort of the feeling of coming through a tunnel and having no way of relating to things in the same way as before”. The song spokes with softly spoken lyrics and surprises you with how quickly it picks up. This song is arguably one of the catchiest from the band’s newest album.
‘Why Would I Wanna Be’ is the most mellow and simple song off of the album. With the same verse repeating itself almost identically, this is perhaps one of the weakest pieces from their new album nevertheless this does not detract from the band’s talent and ability to write great music.
As a complete contrast to the previous track, ‘Point’ is more upbeat. The drums feature heavily throughout the song and synth sounds are used far less than in the band’s other songs, creating an entirely different feel to it. Guitar sounds are used far more instead, making it one of my personal favourites from the album.
‘Airplane’ is similar to the previous track in that it doesn’t really use synth sounds to enhance the music however, it’s a little heavier on the drums and guitar but more mellow in the vocals. This song has more of a psychedelic feel, with Grote practising different vocal skills not previously seen within this album.
Next up is ‘Fat Kiddo’ which is primarily an acoustic piece, with other instruments being introduced only for the chorus. This is another simplistic piece however, is far stronger than ‘Why Would I Wanna Be’ due to the more varied lyrics and the introduction of other instruments to lift the song.
‘Capable’ begins with monotonously spoken vocals such as those seen in ‘If Before I Wake’ however, the song picks up quickly and we hear Grote hitting impressively high notes. Although the music itself is relatively simple, the random changes in Grote’s pitch makes this song far more interesting and unique than first thought.]
The penultimate song from the album, ‘Rattling of the Heart’, offers slightly more of a mainstream indie vibe. It experiments far less with sounds however, the vocal performance is very strong and so is still an enjoyable listen.
The album closes with ‘Will You Be Quiet Please?’. This song is rich in sound, perfectly accompanying Grote’s deep vocals. It is definitely one of the most powerful songs from the album and so is an ideal song to finish the album with.
The Districts are due to start their UK tour later this month, see their tour dates below:
25.08.2017 – Reading, Reading and Leeds Festival
26.08.2017 – Leeds, Reading and Leeds Festival
27.08.2017 – Hull, Fruit
30.08.2017 – Edinburgh, Caves
31.08.2017 – Glasgow, King Tuts
03.09.2017 – Cambridge, Portland Arms
05.09.2017 – Nottingham, Bodega
06.09.2017 – Manchester, Gorilla
07.09.2017 – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach