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City of Glass – The Diving Bell EP

Catherine May


Named after their home city of Vancouver, City of Glass are the Canadian duo expecting great things with their planned 2012 debut album. Ahead of this, The Diving Bell EP gives listeners a quick snippet of everything they have to offer.

Sticks and Stones shows their soft, indie sound. The EP is slower than their previous releases and their voices certainly suit the music. The chorus is particularly strong and it would come as no surprise if this track hangs around in live performances for many years to come. There’s an electronic opening to Tourist before Michael Champion’s soothing vocals give way to an instrumental once more. Aching vocals plus well-matched guitar playing makes Tourist a well-rounded track showing how electronic beats can still create a raw sound.

The verses of Little Shadows lead into possible the strongest, catchiest chorus of the EP. As the lyrics go “Even if it breaks your heart”, the emotions are reflected in the vocals. And it’s at the end of the second chorus that Champion’s voice weakens, for just a second, and it creates something beautiful.

The lengthy instrument introduction to the EP’s final track, Control, is a bit annoying on record. Played live it’d have a suspense-creating effect, but on a recorded track it’s not quite the same. In fact, it leads to Control being the weakest track of the EP. Once the vocals appear, they’re slower and seem to be more semi-spoken than in the previous tracks. That’s not to say the song’s a write-off – David Phu’s guitar creates the write atmosphere and vibe for the song and the ending is rather lovely, but the begin just feels… odd.

So is it a solid predecessor to a debut album? Definitely. It shows that Champion and Phu have a bundle of potential waiting to be explored. Even if Control could do with a little fine-tuning, the first three tracks can convince listeners that this won’t be the last time they hear the name City of Glass.