The Districts - A Flourish and a Spoil (Fat Possum)

Fair to middling with occasional flashes of inspiration debut from Americana quartet

Released Feb 9th, 2015 via Fat Possum / By Jack Doherty
The Districts - A Flourish and a Spoil (Fat Possum) Everyone is a son or a daughter. But, not everyone is an uncle. The Districts look to change all of this with perhaps the first album in the history of music that can transform you into a living, breathing, uncle.

The group’s second LP, their first for Fat Possum A Flourish and a Spoil isn't full of slightly-better-than-middle-of-the-road indie rock. Twelve inoffensive tunes with a bit of fuzz thrown in every now and then, just for good measure. It’s a record The Strokes would make if they showered more often, or the Kings of Leon might actually make in the future. It’s the sound of a band who are striving to be relevant in an age that has already passed them by. Just like an uncle.

Opener ‘4th & Roebling’ tells us all we need to know about the group. The song is a Fifa football soundtrack distilled into three and a half minutes. Subpar rock that’s just too darn clean for it’s own good. There’s distortion, yes, but it’s sterile, cold and inoffensive, three things that it should never be. It’s almost as if the group are scared of being in any way offensive, and that worrying.

However, there are a few times that suggest that, in time, The Districts might find their stride. But these are way too far and few between. ‘Hounds’ and ‘Bold’ show what the group are capable off, if they just dump the arena rock vibes. Both songs still have that stench of dollar bills, but there’s a bit of weirdness in there somewhere, a slightly disjointed sound that suits them well. It’s a shame they don't see it.

The Districts sound like a group on their seventh album, not their first, and quite frankly, that’s disturbing. They’ve started in middle age. They’ve already got the mortgage and the Volvo, without experiencing the stupid dumb stuff that everyone needs to go through. There’s no slip ups. No ‘Brass Monkey’. No ‘Elizabeth My Dear’. No ‘The Bouncer’, and that’s the most disappointing thing of all. The Districts have forgotten what being young means and they’ve made a record that makes youth sound forced rather than free.

So, if you ever fancy taking a trip down middle age avenue, you know where to turn. It’s probably not that bad being an uncle, really.