Indie Rock and rap, like British politics and common sense, are two concepts that seem like they’d never work together. There’s a loose, free-form hip-hop style is usually very antithetical to indie’s more tightly formed, precise structure. But there have been times where the melding of the two, like the Streets’ “Fit But You Know It” or Arctic Monkey’s first album with Alex Turner’s quasi-raps. It’s in works like these that you can pinpoint the sound CityLightz.
The band’s single “They Don’t Know Me” blends sleek guitar lines, catchy grooves and hefty beats with a lyrical dexterity that’s rarely seen in many of today’s newest bands.
The music in the verses serves as a low-key backdrop for singer Matthew Barnett’s lyrics. Drummer Tom Churm and bassist James Skidmore create a sleek rhythm that draws you in whilst Barnett throws rhymes and couplets into your ears. The chorus then switches to a typical catchy singalong chorus that’s standard for a guitar-based band.
It’s a slight disappointment that the chorus is as conventional as it is, but then the end switches rhythm to a slower, grinding churn that switches guitar lines for a heavy riff.
It’s like you’ve accidentally skipped Hard Fi to Sabbath on your Spotify. Really, the only problem with the track is the production, which lacks the power and echo a tune like this needs. But luckily, for their offbeat nature, CityLightz are more than worth a curious listen.