Memphis Here Comes A City
Named after a song by The Go-Betweens, Here Comes A City finds Stars frontman Torquil Campbell and longtime friend Chris Dumont consciously carrying a torch in their side-project Memphis for the hushed, up-tempo dream pop that threatened to go out of style when the Australian indie-rock greats broke up in 2006. When they’re disciplined, Campbell and Dumont are masters at this stuff, dealing in spacey darkness and having fun in the process, thumping and chanting on Here Comes A City with an exuberance they’ve never exhibited before. Recorded over a three-year period, Here Comes A City mostly omits the electronic and jazzy excursions of past releases, scaling things back but still showcasing a welcome diversity of styles. This includes, unfortunately, a few self-indulgent, patience-trying tracks; “Reservoir” is a formless, seven-minute instrumental that drains the musical momentum that’s built across the first six tracks. Mostly, though, Here Comes A City strikes the right balance of lyrical weight and drifting, otherworldly atmospherics, particularly on the rolling, expansive “Apocalypse Pop Song” and the catchy, finger-snapping “Wait!” It’s clear Memphis isn’t interested in “just” making relaxed, lush acoustic pop songs, but when it does, it’s a beautiful thing.