PREVIEW: City Reign EP Launch – Gullivers, Manchester 26/11/11

This EP is the denouement of four years hard work for Manchester-based City Reign. Its title, Numbers For Street Names, alludes to commitment travelling a long and winding road which hasn’t only been metaphorical. It’s being released on their own label, aptly named Car Boot Records – further evidence of DIY zeal.

City Reign’s journey began when frontman Chris Bull and guitarist Mike Grice met at a Ryan Adams gig in 2007, the modus-operandi being inspired by City Rain, City Streets. The two embarked on a road-trip across Europe with guitars in hand and upon returning upheld a rule – if someone asks for a gig they can’t say no.

Now a four-piece, with a mainstream-minded indie outlook, it’s easy to envisage the car boot becoming a haphazard merch-table on tour. Idlewild are a definite influence, with the group citing R.E.M and The National as favourites too.

The EP is an amalgamation of earlier work with previous single, Making Plans (below) opening. The track is held in high regard by BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, who previously recommended the group during 2010’s In The City showcase.

The song depicts anomie, perhaps due to the deracinating nature of life in a tour van. Imagery of rain drizzling down mirrors, stalling traffic, and an overall ‘emptiness in the air’, is described by the frontman. The accompanying video too depicts urban isolation – a black and white montage of a lost boy in the big city.

Words: Simon Butcher



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