Melbourne seven-piece City City City have established themselves as one of the most varied and innovative acts on the local circuit. Their second full-length, The Perimeter Motor Show, meshes together a broad range of genres into a sprawling array of songs which refuse to commit to any one style or approach, either collectively or individually.

  

Opener Poor Joy would not sound out of place in a film noir score. Showcasing the band's mastery of sonic tension, it combines minimal instrumentation with eerie repetition and provides a fitting preface to Skim, which continues this dramatic thread. That is, until it unexpectedly breaks into a pop-rock chorus, shattering the mood of the song entirely. In the world of City City City, rules and formulas are made to be broken. These boys and girl understand the way in which changing a single chord can affect the entire aesthetics of a song and, armed thus, create music that is as eclectic as it is entirely unpredictable.

  

Good Thanks initially establishes itself as one of the most accessible tracks on the album. The cruisey horn intro gives way to laidback guitar and drums that lend the song a somewhat coastal feel. However the entrance of distorted guitar and Ned Collette and Naomi Jean's vocals turn the track on its head, proving once again that expectations are redundant where this band are concerned. To hit the skip button at any stage during a song is to potentially miss its best moments.

  

The Perimeter Motor Show is, in many ways, the showpiece of the album. Not only is it the title track and at the chronological centre of the release, it also exhibits a radical difference in approach – that is, consistency. Stylistically, it slots in neatly between Yo La Tengo and Tilly and the Wall, featuring lyrics instead of simply vocals and an endearingly melodic, indie-pop core.

  

Perhaps the most impressive feature of this album is that it is not merely an ‘album' in the conventional sense of the word. Embracing the freedom of a home studio has allowed City City City a more casual environment in which to record their songs and, subsequently, a more diverse and exploratory result. The use of location recording (The 4am Cavalry Pt. 1) establishes The Perimeter Motor Show as an exercise in sound art as well as music. Fans of experimental radio will lap up this release for its sheer originality in style and technique, however those with short concentration spans had probably best steer clear. The Perimeter Motor Show both deserves and demands undivided, open-minded attention.

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