For a long time now, this LA based homebody has been yearning to kick the heat wave shackles of Southern California and make a break for the just-around-the-corner autumnal weather of more eastern locales.
However, with responsibilities, one can not simply up and go. So I’m reserved to movies and music and there is a specific quality that music inherently brings that movies and television do not. In fact, it’s that specific quality, an emotional “it” factor if you will, that music possesses that movies and television don’t. That’s the reason moving pictures generally wall their written word with an auditory compliment. With their powers combined they form… ah forget it.
Currently it’s A City on a Lake‘s “Oceanside” that has momentarily transported me to the sweet stench of a sweaty subway station, or the ankle-breaking cobble stones of the West Village, or even up to the playoff race in the house that Ruth built and perhaps all the way down to the former block of Mookie.
Having worked with acts such as Delta Rae, Ari Hest, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Vienna Teng and The Paper Raincoat, Alex Wong was recently able to try his hand at something different and out came A City on a Lake.
“There was finally space in my life to do something I’d needed to do for a long time,” explains Alex. ”It was a unique challenge for me as I was trying to fill the roles of both solo artist and producer… roles I knew individually but had never attempted together.”
Complimented by a violin, and a particularly plucky guitar Alex Wong teams with Ximena Sariñana to make the strongest track off the self-titled debut, “Oceanside.” Sariñana, sings with tonality near identical to Deb Talan from the Weepies, while Wong, not so much on Oceanside but surely does at moments throughout the album sounds like a lullaby vocalized by Ben Folds. (“Twenty Faces”, the 1:18 mark)
All in all, A City on a Lake, seems to me, to be at their best when Wong is harmonizing or trading off with Sariñana. At it’s very worst it’s reminiscent of The Weepies and at it’s best it’s closer to the Swell Season. All That’s a good floor and a strong ceiling for the NYC based, Alex Wong.