Release Date: Mar 13, 2020
Record label: Fat Possum Records
The road to The Districts' fourth hasn't been smooth. Shattered after years of touring following 2017's 'Popular Maniuplations', and with frontman Rob Grote facing personal difficulties, their future was uncertain, but out of the darkness comes 'You Know I'm Not Going Anywhere'. An atmospheric record formed around the theme of escapism, the album sees The Districts experimenting outside of their former indie-rock confines, creating expansive soundscapes, and incorporating more samples and ambient sounds than before.
Have the Districts belatedly discovered new wave? Probably not, but on their fourth album, 2020's You Know I'm Not Going Anywhere, the Pennsylvania quartet have taken several steps back from the jangly, slightly rootsy indie rock sound that defined their early work. Instead, You Know I'm Not Going Anywhere reflects a cooler, more processed approach dominated by vintage synthesizer patches and a spacious, echoey production that makes tunes like "Hey Jo," "Changing," and "My Only Ghost" feel like lost relics from the era of sideways haircuts. That doesn't reflect every song on the album, but when the mostly acoustic "Descend" ends with a cascade of layered atmospheric loops, and "Dancer" becomes crowded with clouds of saxophone and artificial ambience, there's no mistaking that the Districts were eager to take a new creative path on this album.
Over the course of four albums, Rob Grote-led The Districts have tweaked their sound as much as any band over the same span. There may still be an acoustic guitar strum here and there left over from their folky debut, but by the time of 2017's Popular Manipulations, the band had given themselves over to spindly electric melodies that Grote's desperately edged vocals helped to somehow keep from falling apart. Skating on the edge of collapse gave songs like If Before I Wake and Airplane their energy and stood up The Districts as a band that might be on the brink of something if they could hold things together.