Cities hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a place named, briefly, “the next Seattle” in the early to mid-’90s. It never happened for Chapel Hill, but Cities plays as if they’re vying for the crown of the city’s scene, should pop culture media and big business come knocking again. Cities is full of sincere, dramatic rock. They play in a faster tempo than Coldplay but the quartet structures its songs in much the same way: big melodies and anthems buoy up singer/guitarist Josh Nowlan’s yearning voice in tunes such as “Writing on the Wall.” Often a song will come crashing in at the start, quiet down, and then re-launch. The formula’s been used once too often in the last several years.