The Lord Gladstone played host to a very special event on Thursday night: an album listening party for ‘Five’ (stylised as ‘IIIII’), the latest record from Sydney group Dappled Cities.
It has been five years since the band’s last full length effort. So naturally, there was an air of quiet anticipation. After a few drinks at the bar, we were politely asked to come and hear the band play. Blue and pink light filled the performance space. A calm neon backdrop for the band’s intimate three-song set. The audience was treated to a trio of dual guitars and a synthesiser, melded together with strong vocal performances to create lush sonic textures. The tracks performed were all cuts from the new record, played stripped back and uninhibited by gimmick or extravagance.
A testament to any band is what they can accomplish with barebones instrumentation, and Dappled Cities did just that. Their performance was ethereal yet sincere. Dreamy yet wholesome. With big swells in sound they lifted the audience into the clouds, and brought them back down with gentle melodies. It is important to note this was not the original format of the tunes. But this just goes to show the versatility of the group’s songwriting.
While the performance was brief, it was not the only feature of the night. Alongside the back of the room was a fixture of 5 record players, where guests could listen to the album on vinyl. This was a nice personal touch. And a nice contrast to the live component of the evening.
This less-is-more approach, accompanied by a keen attention to detail, was a theme of the whole night. This reflects a maturity and sincerity that can only come with experience. Since Dappled Cities have been around since the early 2000s this hardly comes as a surprise. Listeners will be rewarded for their patience. ‘IIIII’ is out now, and I look forward to revisiting the album again and again in the coming weeks.
Reviewer: Cameron Macleod