#MoNM Day 12: The Cape May’s Central City May Rise Again

A.K.A. It’s shameful that I haven’t heard this yet: Calgary edition. To be sure, I have heard The Cape May. I wouldn’t even hesitate in citing Glass Mountain Roads as one of the best albums to come out of this city. It’s one of those albums that comes across as almost unprecedented, so crisp, so frigid. The music feels like a creeping fog, a slow build of tension and haunted atmosphere with only the subtlest catharsis.

I’d also happily vouch for Pale Air Singers, the collaboration between the Cape May and the equally talented (though musically dissimilar) Victoria band Run Chico Run – hell, I gave it a Polaris push the year it came out, to little avail. And frontman Clinton St. John’s solo album, Black Forest Levitation, which embraces the folk side of Glass Mountain‘s dynamic without losing the drama. Yet today somehow marks my first time hearing Central City May Rise Again.

On first blush, Central City feels like a precursor to Glass Mountain. There’s still plenty of tension in St. John’s tightly crafted songs, but they haven’t quite been refined to the razor’s edge precision that would follow. And while the sound is still entirely unique to The Cape May, its constituent parts show through slightly more. The folk is more directly folk; the post-rock more directly post-rock.

The way they mix, though, with each genre colouring the other in subtle ways, is incredible. If Central City is slightly more obvious than Glass Mountain, it’s also more accessible, especially emotionally. When the drums kick in and the guitars thicken, it’s more visceral than St. John’s more cerebral follow-up. For what’s clearly a Cape May album, it’s still a noticeably different beast than its successors.

Sadly, the Cape May seems to be defunct, but St. John has been working on a new album with some incredibly talented Calgary folk. I’m not sure when it’ll surface, but when it does, I expect to be blown away again.

Sample song:

Thing (Summer in 6/4 Time)

Hunting Grounds

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