Back in 2011, Vancouver post-punk outfit City of Glass temporarily located to Berlin, and the experience was eye-opening for front man Michael Champion and guitarist David Phu.
“My favourite pastimes — a beer in the park, biking everywhere, after-hours dancing — aren’t hot political topics like at home,” remembers Phu. “It was overwhelming, humbling, relaxing and inspiring. I’ll never forget the enthusiasm about anything to do with culture or art. It was easy to focus on our craft and just be artists.”
Champion agrees. “I’ve never been to a city where the population buys into a concept like I’ve experienced there,” he says. “It’s a very open and celebratory place.”
Although the musicians returned to Vancouver a few months later, their European trip continued to resonate with them as they put the finishing touches on their debut album, the newly released The Modern Age. With its shimmering guitars, minimal rhythms and smoothly sung hooks, the record is bursting with sonic richness and beautifully produced pop sleekness.
Much of the material was penned before they left for Berlin, but they incorporated elements of the experience into the finished product. “The church bells at the start of ‘Wait for Me’ are from across our flat in Berlin,” explains Phu.
The album is available digitally and as a limited vinyl run through City of Glass’ Bandcamp page. Now that it’s been released, the musicians are looking ahead to their next ambitious project: creating a film to accompany The Modern Age. “There is talk of touring Europe in spring 2014 which we would love to double as a film screening tour,” reveals Phu.
In the meantime, they intend to incorporate some new material in their live shows. Champion offers, “Our next songs will be a big step forward, I think.”
City of Glass will perform at the Rickshaw on December 12. The Modern Age is available now.
By Rabby Franch