Album Review :
Sixteen Cities - s/t

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Band: Sixteen Cities
Title: self-titled
Label: Centricity Music
Release Date: April 20, 2010
Review By: BMer
Track Listing:

1. Just Wanna Dance
2. Save Me From Myself
3. Sing Along
4. Pray You Through
5. Only After You
6. Come As You Are
7. Innocent
8. Captured By Your Love
9. Someone’s Work Of Art
10. Bleeding For You
11. Winter

Sixteen Cities is a 4-piece modern rock outfit out of the Portland area.  Their self-titled debut is released on Centricity Music and it shows a lot of potential.  After developing a fan base in the Oregon area playing for schools and churches the band’s demo made it’s way to the right hands and Centricity Music signed up the youngsters.

I was impressed with the production of the album, the overall sound is great, you can hear the entire band well and the bottom-end is really full.  The vocal work is impressive with solid harmonies mixed very well throughout.  The piano-driven sound is reminiscent of some of the most popular secular acts out there right now like The Fray and Christian artists like Leeland.  The bass work is also fun to listen to, keeping the songs dynamic and holding the listener’s attention.  Sixteen Cities brings an overtly Christian message with some songs bordering on worship songs you might find on Sunday morning and other songs are very inspirational and encouraging.  I couldn’t help but imagine school-aged kids as the intended targets for a lot of these songs, and the hopeful message this album brings could really help a lot of kids out.

Some of the memorable songs include “Save Me From Myself” and “Come As You”, songs that obviously remind listeners that everyone is invited to the throne of Jesus, and that although you may not fit in at school, or have made mistakes, Jesus wants a relationship with you and He loves you.  These songs come right alongside struggling listeners and lift them up.  Track 9 “Someone’s Work of Art” is beautiful, reminding us that we’re all “someone’s work of art just the way you are.”

While the good songs are very good, I feel like some other tracks are less memorable and get lost easily when listening.  The production quality of the record is very clean and crisp which, for some in the “indie” crowd, might be too generic sounding. If anything Sixteen Cities might have a problem standing out in the crowd of modern/pop rock bands.  It’s hard to identify what might really set these guys apart from the rest but their debut is definitely a great starting point.

OVERALL I would say this is a good album, easy listening and a positive message.  Some listeners will identify with the themes more than others, but overall the message of hope found in Christ is personal to us all.  Sixteen Cities is definitely fitting into contemporary modern rock with their faux-hawks and piano-driven ballads, but the real struggle might come from trying to stand out.

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