As the band members of Sister City scream at the end of “Hit Too Hard,” the first track on Sister City’s Carbon Footprint, they’re doing the same thing many other bands before them have done in the pop-punk realm, only they do it just a little bit differently. The album, as it develops, becomes more of a grunge or post-punk endeavor, with plenty of rocking elements to balance out the pop hooks.
But what’s most impressive about this album is that, unlike many of his peers, Adam Linder doesn’t seem bogged down in self-referential diary entries. These are lyrics with something to say. “How Much” is an album stand-out, a gloomy ballad with thudding percussion and bass providing the propulsion as Linder sings of war and the final frontier: “I want to know what I don’t know … I want to know what no one knows,” Linder sings, “or I will tread water and gracelessly sink below like death is a puzzle and I learned where all the pieces go.”
Still, he saves the best of his bile for himself on “Ellis Island Blues,” a wild ride of crunching guitars and full speed percussion as he imagines what his ancestors would think of his generation:
So I wander like the ancestors that I’ve forsaken
Where is my respect?
If my great-great grandparents had only known
That their great-great grandson
Would end up turning people into stone
Do you think they’d have set a fucking foot onto that boat?
I don’t, I don’t
Linder’s lyrics fit perfectly with the tone of the rest of the song, and “Ellis Island” (which originally was intended to open the album) proves to be the true centerpiece of an album which focuses as much on the self as the big picture. “Life is what you make of it,” he sings, “and I am on the verge of something big.” Indeed he seems to be, and Sister City’s Carbon Footprint is an auspicious debut.
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Purchase the album via the band’s Bandcamp page … you can name your own price for the download, and it’s only $5 if you’d like a hard-copy on CD … can’t beat that!