Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., June 9, 2006
The Entire City (Distress Signal)
A former hardcore kid from Dallas goes solo, grabs an acoustic guitar, and makes an album. That was 2003's Reverse Vision, but Steve Arceri's no whiny tear factory. With a little help from locals Jason Brister and Colin Swietek of Cue, cellist Caitlin Bailey of Pompeii, and Elizabeth Jackson of Darling New Neighbors on violin, The Entire City takes on a full sound, all the windows lit up. Acoustic opener "One Problem" is a shaky start, but soon it comes together. "Catch Fire" has an immediate Sonic Youth birthright with its wiry opening guitar line, and the chaotic breakdown shouts early Nineties. Arceri gets acidic on the beautifully plodding "Break the Contract" ("Did your blood red turn to black lead? Finish the six-pack, head for the gun rack"), comparable to the agit pop of former Dischord trio Q and Not U. On the accordion balladry of "Wait With a Trumpet," he spits "It's the same for the Church as for the State. All the tyrants surely have their day coming." Sure, Arceri's pissed, but what a composed soundtrack.