Anytown Graffiti could be the indie rock offspring of the Arcade Fire and fellow New Yorkers Stellastarr*, with vocalist Billy McCarthy channeling both the frantic energy of Win Butler and the doom and gloom of Shawn Christensen.
The fast-paced drums and chiming guitar of “Waiting On The Stairs” make it a superb album opener, leaving you very little choice but to keep listening. “Tenement Teeth” is likely to draw more references to Stellastarr* as well as U2 (see the opening guitar riff to “Sunday Bloody Sunday”). In “Rooftops [Moth Song Outro],” slightly more than halfway through the album, McCarthy sounds like he may as well be shouting from on high as he sings “we’re up on a rooftop/let’s make our mind stop/look at the time now, dear” over a chorus of church organs and a slow yet steady drumbeat.
Title track “Anytown Graffiti” is a nice break from the stampede-like quality of the rest of the energy. It begins with a minute and 14 seconds of reverb-soaked “aahs” that will make you feel like you’ve stepped through the doors of a cathedral on Sunday morning. The relaxing stupor is soon interrupted by a trance-inducing intro of piano notes played one at a time and a drumbeat that won’t let you sit still. Closing track “7th and 17th” runs a 2 minute sample of children talking and playing in the background with a simple acoustic guitar line in the forefront and no vocals – besides being a reminder of that Flickerstick song “Sorry, Wrong Trajectory,” the song is a perfect ending to the album. It ties up all the loose ends and brings the noise level down to a bare minimum. When the youthful shouts of the children finally fade out, you’ll be stunned and eager to go out and tell all your friends.