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All City Affairs - Identity Theft

Released on Lujo Records, 10/21/08

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

All City Affairs is really the brainchild of Chicago native Peter Andreadis, drummer of acclaimed group Baby Teeth. While some other friends help out on his third album, Identity Theft it is, despite its name, the work of Andreadis. The album opens with “Flashback to When We Both Were Young” and is slightly jarring. There’s pop-y, acoustic guitar but there’s also synths and a hip hop drum beat. It’s quite confusing at first because it doesn’t blend as well as say Beck or Radiohead. But that’s a compliment because All City Affairs manages to create its own sound and doesn’t sound like just a knockoff.

At the core, All City Affairs is just a good, solid rock ensemble. The melodies derive, mainly, from just Andreadis’ acoustic guitar and persistently, upbeat voice. The drum machine adds a new layer and enables him to go beyond the normal singer/songwriter route. He can add some darkness and depth to his power-pop tunes, while also sounding new and fresh. His voice also sounds very similar to long defunct, yet popular indie act The Stereo.

The only downside is that it does start to wear on you and feel gimmicky -- even though it definitely is not. There’s something that’s almost too lo-fi for this type of music. While it’s exceptional that Andreadis is able to record everything himself in his own home studio, he may actually benefit from entering a real studio. The problem with using synths and drum machines is that they can come off sounding cheap if not used right. Unfortunately, that happens a bit on this album. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t offer something new and exciting.