While it’s pretty certain that Mob Tactics’ new single was made before the current troubles in the US, “War City” takes on slightly heavier meaning at the moment, especially in large cities. It is a bit of war out there right now, and so this heavy, darkstep anthem could now take on a whole new poignancy.
It’s clear from the vocals in “War City” as well as how the album art’s been done up that the Mob Tactics duo meant the track to be an homage to the film Sin City. With the main vox sample being the classic Sin City quote, “there’s no choice left; and I’m ready for war,” and the album art an homage to the film’s hyperreal film noir style, it’s clear that’s where the Mob boys were going.
Film and social parallels aside, “War City” is a really cool and different vibe from Mob Tactics’ recent work. The duo have done some excellent throwback work to the golden age of darkstep for this one, with a snare-heavy beat and a sub bass bassline that has all the coolest elements of the genre that helped birth neurofunk. A low sinewave bass note that stops just shy of foghorn makes up the main synth, as the halting note combination at the phrase transitions is, again, classic darkstep.
Even the singular, minor key chord in the ambient background and held throughout most of “War City” along with the accompanying percussion, bongos and bells, are classic darkstep. Think the 90s Moving Shadow mix of “Cops Don’t Like Us” by E-Z Rollers, but instead of bits of the Dragnet theme, there’s a quote from Sin City and lots of dark sub bass synths.
Despite its unintended parallels to the current times, “War City” is a drum & bass education for new heads and a lovely nostalgic moment for the old schoolers. Impeccably crafted as always, “War City” is a fun, danceable reminder to drum & bass not to forget its roots and, however unintentionally, a reminder in the current times to keep fighting the good fight.
“War City” drops tomorrow, June 12 on RAM. Pre-save on Spotify here.