Cities of Foam "A Great Day For The Race" (Dorado Records)

Cities of Foam is the duo of Bristol-dwelling Todd Wills and Sam Menter. They’ve known each other since a young age and no doubt this chemistry helps explain the wondrous results of their musical pairing. Musically A Great Day… is situated somewhere in the realm of downtempo, but somehow that tag doesn’t do justice to this collection of beautifully lush soundscapes that go beyond your preconceived notions of said genre. Their electronic-meets-live instrumentation approach is bound to draw comparisons with the likes of Zero 7 but that would be misleading since Cities of Foam manage to be equally laid back but simultaneously sounding more dynamic and vibrant. Their music has been described as “ear wateringly good pastroral dream funk” and that pretty much hits it on the head, exemplified quite perfectly by the opening track “Last Man Standing.” “Barry Can’t Do Flat Tops” is a slightly more moody, dubby piece that recalls the influence of fellow Bristolians Massive Attack, but even then Wills and Menter put their own spin on it with the unexpected introduction of a flamenco-style acoustic guitar riff.
The album is mostly instrumental but the smoky vocals of Nia Lynn, complemented by mournful strings and acoustic guitars make for a magical blend on “Out of Reach.” Other highlights include: the insinuating funk of “Girls in Bars”; the simmering, cheeky jazz of “Goldtop”; “Liquid Remedy’s” exotic world music vibe and Oleambi’s brisker paced, yet equally emotive backdrop.
A Great Day For The Race is refreshing listening, and is remarkably compelling throughout. It’s clear that the pair has no shortage of musical ideas, but they come across with channeled exuberance, creating an album that remains cohesive but packed with vision. A great moment in music.

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