City of Stone is a four-member band with lofty ambitions for their self released first album entitled One Day considering each band member is in fact still in high school. While some of the music they recorded was on the predictable side of things, the fact that four high school students took on recording and mixing their own album with the tools they have available to them shows some deeper motivation and passion. I found it very compelling that they choose to tell a story through the overall total of the album instead of writing individual songs.
While the band members each are still in high school, it is also noteworthy to mention that City of Stone is actually not even a year into existence. The overall product may seem at times to be a bit amateur, it is pretty significant that four young artists at this age were able to not only come together to create these songs but also get it recorded on a simple Mac before reaching the band’s first anniversary and at least some of the band members 16th birthday. Band member Sebastian Alamillo not only played guitar and sang back up but also did the engineering and editing of the album. Tiago Pinto joins Alamillo on guitar and lead vocals with bassist Nicolas Page and Devin Pierce on drums to round out the band.
One major piece that was lacking on all the tracks was a true drum sound as all of the drum sections were in fact from an electric kit. The addition of an actual set of drums to add more of a deeper tone and presence on the next album would surely improve the quality.
As the first song “Our Story” kicks off the album, the audience literally begins the story of the album. The opening phone call is almost haunting as it foreshadows questions that will come up again latter in the album. In the beginning we meet the main character, a young man who is already in turmoil over young love and what appears to be low self esteem. This first song is where we are reminded of the age of the band members as the male half of the the couple shares a feeling of fear and a lack of confidence.. The problem really isn't with the couple but instead within the mind of an unsteady teen. The vocals on the first track are haunting and emotional.
Track two “One Day” quickly moves into a guitar heavy, classic rock feel but with a bit slower pace as the young man moves from his own self loathing right into the big break up. This song is the one from the album that most teens could easily see themselves in, and by far my favorite of the album. The third track “Where Did I Go Wrong” sounds like a drunken session of venting with friends that just happens to include a great guitar solo. While most people can empathize with this feeling, to actually hear this in a literal sense was a bit much. I understand the point was to show the main character's drug use, but it fell flat.
After the drugs start in the third track “Down Again” seems to take that one step further with paranoia and over exaggerated vocals. Lucky for us all, our main character makes a full recovery to rise again in the big finale “Wolf of Arrows.” This is where that initial phone call comes back to haunt the listener as we wonder if any of the events of the unfolding ever happened or was it just in his head.
Where some of the music was a bit predictable, the overall lyrical content was interesting and something a youthful audience could easily identify with. With a little more work on the technical side this band could hit their potential. I look forward to seeing what the next few years hold for each member of The City of Stone.
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