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City Boy - Heads Are Rolling CD (album) cover


City Boy

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Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Ruthlessly chopped off!

Listening to this album, it's hard to see any justification whatsoever for City Boy to be accredited with any connection with progressive rock. This album consists entirely of short pop rock tracks, with little if any development. At times there are similarities with the music of 10CC, Kayak or Styx, but only in terms of the most straightforward tracks recorded by those bands.

If we ignore the is it/is it not prog rock aspect for a minute, and assess the album purely on its merits, it is still found wanting. The song writing is generally weak, with unadventurous hooks, bland lyrics, and a real sense of heard it all before. There is little to distinguish the music here from the mass of similar 5 tracks aside (OK there's six on one side here!) albums which used to flood the bargain bins of second hand record shops.

The band are at their best when in ballad mode, with tracks such as "You're leaving me" and "Speechless" rising above the tedium of the bouncy pop rock songs. Even here though, it is easy to forget you are not in fact listening to a boy band ballad which wasn't quite good enough to make it as a single. There are some decent guitar breaks in some of the tracks, but they are ruthlessly (not to say needlessly) curtailed before they are allowed to develop.

City Boy are/were clearly capable musicians, who (on this album at least) failed to challenge themselves to go beyond run of the mill pop rock, and who's compositional talents were doubtful at best. It's hard to recommend this album to those looking for simple melodic pop rock, let alone those seeking anything remotely progressive.

Report this review (#57961)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
2 stars A slight misstep...

City Boy lost two of its original members after their previous release, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, managed to completely miss the attention of the mainstream audience. Steve Broughton and Chris Dunn were important to the signature style of the band and seeing them leave did create a lot of hollow room, especially since the remaining quartet decided to carry on without any replacements.

Let me start by addressing the album's cover since it never really appealed to me and I honestly can't imagine how anyone could have green-lighted it. Book Early was the most unappealing album cover up until now but Heads Are Rolling definitely drops the bar a few more notches which makes Book Early seem not that bad in comparison. The cover really has not connection to the music that it tries to represent since this album is just as colorful and vibrant as most of the previous albums.

Although the overall style is still the same, the quality of the compositions is really not on the same level as before. The first three tracks starts the album off on a weird note that does take a while to shake off. Fortunately we have tracks like Change In The Weather, The Police-inspired Domino and Speechless that returns the album on the right track for a while. This doesn't really hold for too long and the quality sinks once again with The Sound Of The Bell and the ultra cheesy ballad You're Leaving Me.

Heads Are Rolling shows City Boy at their career low, which is quite understandable since the band needed some time to reorganize themselves in order to get back on track. Most fans actually didn't get a follow up to the story until only a few years back when the band's seventh and final album It's Personal finally got a proper release, but more on that in my next review!

**** star songs: Change In The Weather (3:44) Domino (3:45) Speechless (3:35) Bloody Sunday (3:25) Life On The Balcony (4:57)

*** star songs: Mr. Shoes (3:24) Heads Are Rolling (3:58) Need A Little Loving (3:41) The Sound Of The Bell (3:41) You're Leaving Me (3:58) Heaven For The Holidays (3:34)

Report this review (#438189)
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2011 | Review Permalink

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