Crime in Stereo – I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone

A few weeks ago, Hearwax posted an interview I conducted with Crime In Stereo’s Kristian Hallbert. Amongst other things, he talked about the great deal of time and effort that was invested into their latest, I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone, which didn’t really strike me as anything overly significant at the time. Bands will often say stuff like that, and generally, when someone boasts about the amount of time and effort they’ve put into something, it means they’re pleased with the results; I mean they’re not going to say “hey, we put time and effort into this, and it sucks”. But it hit me, when I started to think about how much I’ve been delaying this review: some records require the investment of our time, in order for us to fully grasp the importance of all their parts. In that respect, it comes as no surprise to me that they emphasize the effort with which they created this work.

It’s quite clear from the first few seconds of the opener, “Queue Moderns”, that one is hearing something drastically different from anything that was heard on a Crime In Stereo album before. A very fishy start, because I’ve heard many a band that I initially enjoyed, crash and burn with unnecessary ‘intro’ tracks, or general experimental nonsense. But the way this album starts, is essential in setting the tone for the rest of the album, because a lot of what is unexpected is seen as such due to the way it is structured. They use more simple and traditional song structures on this album than on any of their other releases, and one can really see it with songs like “Drugwolf”, “Type One”, and “Republica”. But in the mix of the more simplistic tracks, they’ll have songs like “Young” – which goes on until the halfway mark as any of the latter songs would, and then breaks into a transition that completely abandons the structure, leaving the listener with a resounding ‘what?’ Usually, I am so against this kind of thing, but it isn’t a distasteful transition at all, as it purposefully brings about a sense of chaos into something that seems so orderly.

Most importantly, their 2010 effort covers a wide variety of influences, so the Brand New comparisons that ensued with the release of Is Dead, no longer apply as much. You can hear some serious Nirvana worship with Hallbert’s Cobain-like howls on “Type One”, as well as a great deal of post-rock influence on songs like “Exit Halo”. But really, this is a band that has made its mark on the hardcore scene long ago, as even The Troubled Stateside makes claim to a brand of melodic hardcore that is theirs. Essentially, the songs that sound like Crime In Stereo, are not only the album’s strongest material, but some of their best material yet. Call me a bitter fan boy, but songs like “I Cannot Answer You Tonight” bring me back to the days of The Troubled Stateside, and “Odalisque” brings about a side of their sound I was pleased to be introduced to.

Yet again, Crime In Stereo bring about a release that circulates the hardcore scene with genre-defining material. There is only one song I can really say I hate, and that is “Not Dead”, but only because those yeahs are a bit too much for me. All in all, however, I agree with Kristian that this is probably their strongest work to date. You’d hear a lot more from me if this was a bad album, but since it was good, I don’t have much else to say.


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