Review: As Cites Burn
Hell or High Water

Aug 14 2009

'Hell or High Water' is the third and final full-length album by the band As Cites Burn, as on the 14th of July the band decided to split and as they announced on their myspace "As Cities Burn has broken up. We are happily moving on after 6 good years. Our lives and our wives have called us in different directions. Thanks to anyone who has come out to a show, had words to say, or bought a cd to help us fill the tank" Of course if you know much about the band, you will know they split in June 2006 only to come back together "because the fans wanted us to" in August 2006. Looking back at their history band member have come and gone, styles have changed, it has been a very rocky road for this Louisiana band.

The album is the first and of course the last release for the band on the "Tooth and Nail" label and is 9 tracks long and has a guest vocals from the ex-lead vocalist of the band "T.J. Bonnette". The more and more I learn about this band the more and more strange I find them. The album kicks off with "84 Sheepdog" which yes, I agree is a stupid title for a track and let's be honest the only other time you will see 84 Sheepdog is at an agricultural show. This is not the only strange song title; you have "Capo", "Made too Pretty" and the best "Errand Rum". But of course an album isn't judged on it's song titles.

When you turn the album on the first thing you hear is the vocalist singing/shouting "They fixed your brain when you were young, they fixed your brain, they fixed it before you knew the difference" until the album explodes into a guitar rift that wouldn't be a miss on the last [dweeb] album. "Errand Rum" is very much marching drums lead and by far the best track on this album. "Petty," is another highlight which does show some of the best musicianship off the album, with is earthy melody, light piano and blues-esq guitar.

Musically this album is good, it's what the cool indie mainstream bands are doing right now, but something doesn't sit right with me about this album. I want to like it as I like Indie music, I like a lot of obscure music, I even like strange/random music. But this album "Hell or High Water" did nothing for me. Maybe that's what it is, it's a bit too mainstream for a Christian band. I'm not going to get into a Christian band in the Mainstream verses CCM debate as I believe enough has been said about that by others. I just feel the hidden moral Christian lyrics aren't in this album. Maybe I'm just missing them.

Review by Jono Davies

LTTM Rating 3 out of 5 Stars
Standout Tracks:

Errand Rum
Lady Blue

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