Knoxville's own Southern Cities are back with their second full-length record Give In To The Machine, the follow-up to their 2015 EP Signs of Life.
Give In To The Machine kicks things off with the jazzy, slightly prog-rockish "Anchors Aweigh."(Not to be confused with the Frank Sinatra movie or the fight song for Navy or the Farragut Admirals) Right off the bat, the striking line of "dreaming of the open sea, to get away from the grief of the nine-to-five drive" sets the tone and lays out the underlying theme of the album. Figuring out one's place in adulthood and attempting to hold on to some semblance of individuality while being pulled closer and closer to conforming to any number of societal norms is something most in their 20s and even 30s wrestle with. This album explores the pains of trying to strike that balance with a certain degree of depth.
As we exited youth and moved into our first decade of adulthood, the gently persistent refrain urging us to Give In to The Machine, started to be all we could hear. - Southern Cities on Give In To The Machine
Southern Cities show off their ability to be dynamic on this album through the different ways of expressing how they feel about The Machine, whatever that may be. Ranging from the darker sounding rock on the title track to the jubilation in a song like "Just Like You Should," they come at their topic from several different angles.
To me, the strongest track on the album is "Just Like You Should," a song that joyously suggests ignoring responsibilities. It's a perfect summertime anthem for slacking. The chorus of "Take a walk, and blow it off just like you should" really makes you want to drop what you're doing and get outside, plus the horns and banjo are a really fun addition.
Southern Cities are putting out this record with a pair of album release shows. One of them is at the Emory Place Block Party on August 20th, and the other is at Blankfest in Market Square on August 28th.