The Districts: Great American Painting (Fat Possum) – review


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March 14, 2022

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Like a dark take on The Killers, The Districts return, ditching their grungy ballads for mostly pop-produced incisions on everything from gun violence to America’s violent, racist existence. Coming from a sincere heart, much of the message’s urgency glistens amid Interpol’s overproduction.

“Do It Over” touches on the Graceland wonder of scopic America, but ultimately drowns in production. The pre-chorus attempts to soar but doesn’t quite earn the horn heaven it’s aiming for as vocalist/guitarist Rob Grote sings, “I only wanted to tell you a secret.” On “White Devil,” the band hits on a brutality that’s otherwise absent, employing a post-punk influence over quivering guitar and searing rhythm in a believable take on “towers, ivory.” It’s equal parts New Wave and garage, and even features a dream breakdown.

With such massive and epic thematic material, the band’s historically climactic constructs and conscious songwriting are sorely missed. But the record succeeds when it gets gritty and passionate. Much of the pain and anger that erupts from the hand of gratuitous violence is only found in small corners of this painting, barely encompassing the message. (

Author’s note: 5/ten

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