Self Against City are the first of Rushmore records newest singings, they even star Jonah from Far/Gratitude brother Jack Matranga on guitar. They have that Drive Thru sound, but with more than a slight influence from bands like Gratitude, this is the standard emo/rock label this type of music usually gets and in this case it sticks.
It's not a very easy record to get into, as it sounds like background music, you wouldn't mind it being on, but no one could really say they didn't mind music like this. "The Process (Tonight)" is a perfect example of this, Further Seems Forever mixed with The Startling Line-esque melodies. It's the music teen movie soundtracks are made from, rather cliché emo lyrics, at least this band can pull this off without sounding whiney or screaming. "Speechless" sounds more like The Early November, plucky guitars and more quiet than the last song, this one isn't as upbeat or catchy, this is a very, very typical sounding song of this genre, nothing original of unique in the slightest. "All This Time" does help redeem this mid CD slump somewhat, still holding onto the tone of the previous song, but this song takes it a bit further, but what this track makes evident is that harmonies are very clearly missing from the song structure of this band, the song sounds almost incomplete without them.
"Let You Go" is another more emo-esque number, dreamy and slow, but at the same time it has a slightly different arrangement than the other songs, making it slightly more interesting to listen to. "Take It How You Want It" takes Self Against City back to sounding like Gratitude, but more bland, dull and repetitive, there is yet to be anything to be found on this CD to set this band apart from the rest of the bunch. "Always" is the last track and I did hope some miracle would be in store, but then I heard the first few words sung from Jeff LaTour "I fell in love with a ghost...", Right. So this disc is cliché emo from start to finish? Yup. This song is once again nothing special, emo-blah that tries to worm its way into your heart. It doesn't work.
It's very hard to take to this kind of music that's been so exploited and replicated, if you want good emo, the kind that this band try so very hard to make their own listen to Sunny Day Real Estate, listen to Christie Front Drive and The Promise Ring. Richard and Stephanie Reines know what they're doing, Drive Thru and, now I'm presuming Rushmore Records have a built in audience who love pretty much anything they touch, so it's safe to say this isn't the last we've heard of Self Against City, lets just hope over time they find a sound to call their own.