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Crime in Stereo - The Troubled Stateside (Cover Artwork)

Crime in Stereo

Crime in Stereo: The Troubled StatesideThe Troubled Stateside (2006)
Nitro Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

In all compromises you usually look to come out on top. Crime in Stereo have accomplished this with The Troubled Stateside, their Nitro debut, third release in less than a year and second full-length overall. This rush of material hasn't seemed to thin the band out too much, but in truly developing .
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In all compromises you usually look to come out on top. Crime in Stereo have accomplished this with The Troubled Stateside, their Nitro debut, third release in less than a year and second full-length overall. This rush of material hasn't seemed to thin the band out too much, but in truly developing a unique identity -- progressive melodic hardcore, really -- with Stateside, they offer an album that's musically diverse but a bit disjointed and overall fairly uneven. That's not to undermine a number of great, well-written songs however present.

The album begins with 2 of its standouts: "Everything Changes / Nothing Is Ever Truly Lost" and "Bicycles for Afghanistan." The former begins with a thrash drumbeat and a furious scream, developing into an excellent minute-long youth crew cut with a breakdown performed by obvious veterans. The latter1 offers one of Stateside's most especially emotional choruses: "And so we drift together, yet apart and alone..." From there, the record makes a number of ups and downs. The Lifetime-inspired "The Impending Glory of American Adulthood" is solid, while "I'm on the Guestlist Motherfucker," despite its vehement lyrical content which we'll get to later, seems a bit middling. The excellently written "Sudan" resonates with powerful, punctuated gang vocals of "So goodnight, Dark Island!," but the song it references isn't thrilling; "Dark Island City" is the most troubling of these few mediocre tracks; it starts off with a promising lead, goes quiet, allows Kristian Hallbert to exercise brief nostalgia of a past party, recovers that guitar lead and then fades out, all over the course of 2 minutes. It feels drastically incomplete and non-sensical. "Gravity/Grace" is a slower offering that surprisingly finds Hallbert employing some rather Adam Lazzarra-like vocal strides in its bridge.

"I, Stateside" may be the most ambitious track the band's written, as it begins with a bouncy chord progression and is eventually propelled by breathtakingly emotional "whoooooa"s at the forefront and similarly heartfelt guitars in the background, with Hallbert pleading "God please save these troubled states!" The guitars then sound off alarm-like in the bridge, break down and allow the way for atmospheric strokes to appear in the bridge, gaining strength and picking up harder to close the 5+-minute song.

The other minor flaw is the musical cohesiveness of Stateside. No transitions between tracks exist, whereas the ones that existed on the band's last full-length, Explosives and the Will to Use Them employed them perfectly and gave it a unifying feel. Stateside seems to have little connectivity, thus giving it a bit more of a "B-sides/rarities compilation" feel than a complete, one-session full-length album.

However, where the album does manage to walk in one piece is in its devastating lyrical content. Granted Hallbert confesses "recurring themes of love and God and war" in "I, Stateside" but more often on Stateside he's writing about the everyday financial struggle and quest to avoid the doldrums of the 9-to-5. In "Sudan" he takes on the perspective of a woman wishing to escape her country and establish a new life in the United States. "For Exes" is a straightforward narrative of a supposed answering machine message asking a friend "how are things around the office these days? Did your boss ever give you that raise?" When Hallbert isn't referencing those points, he's writing rather confrontational material. "I'm on the Guestlist Motherfucker" almost seems like the band's disgust with Victory Records and possible attempts the label may have made to sign them, with lines like "So put a big black sticker on the front that says 'For Fans Of:' / and you can donate a penny to my future pension. We've got big retail chain front-of-store displays, but just remember: It's three grand for a half-page ad, so you better be paying attention." Brief observations of the scene around them are made as well ("If it seems as of late, I've stopped sitting around talking about the bands I hate, maybe I'm starting to relate"). "I, Stateside" is simply agitated by the left's constant damnation by its American counterparts: "And I can't set aside all the condescending lies they're making us believe about state and faith and law. Paint every dark-skinned man a criminal, every white Christian forgivable. We're choosing sides, a solider's life in the new culture war...'We'll fix the fat and ugly with incisions. We'll stash the gay and liberal up in New England. We'll keep the black and poor in (or under constant threat of) prison. And they'll all feel blessed just for being part of the vision.'" Quite the powerful concluding statement.

There are some rather fantastic songs on The Troubled Stateside, but it's an album that's really kept afloat for its duration by the songwriting, which are some of the most well-written personal expressions and poignant observations made in some time for its genre. Crime in Stereo has definitively matured and found their niche; now they simply need to take this ambition to write songs that'll connect each other not just in the thematic sense, but in the musical one as well.

Bicycles for Afghanistan

1 - Interestingly enough, the title of the song apparently references an October 2001 article by John Whiteley, president of the Chattanooga Bicycle Club, who suggested the possibility of collecting old bicycles, fixing them up and sending them to the people of the country in question as a gesture of goodwill. I can't find any research confirming whether or not this act of charity ever ended up occurring, but it seems a peculiar thing to reference regardless.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!No Trigger - CanyoneerThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Loved Ones - Keep Your HeartCrime in Stereo - Is DeadKid Dynamite - Kid DynamiteAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseA Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideA Wilhelm Scream - Mute PrintCrime In Stereo - Explosives, And The Will To Use Them

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Kursk64 (August 28, 2010)

Easily my favourite album by any band. Long live Crime In Stereo

evanispunx (May 3, 2010)

Bicycles For Afghanistan is in reference to Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. (A chapter in the book is named such.) Great album. Great band.

jamespastepunk (April 17, 2008)

The disc is amazing. Get into it.

jakethelifeguard (October 23, 2007)

stoked to pick up the new album today.
gonna be epic

hell yes

T-Rock (June 28, 2007)

This is one of my favorite recent albums, but that's not why I posted. I posted regarding the title of the song BICYCLES FOR AFGHANISTAN.

Mystery over: It's the name of a chapter from the Kurt Vonnegut novel "Cat's Cradle." You guys need to read some Vonnegut.

etwiels88 (April 28, 2007)

If you think the first album is better than this, you're a fucking herb. Band rules still.

Anonymous (January 6, 2007)

bicycles for afghanistan is a vonnegut reference you stupid idiot

crazytoledo (November 14, 2006)

Record of the Year: Third.

I think this is gonna edge out the Converge album; it's a funner album to listen to.

etwiels88 (October 27, 2006)

Record of the year: seconded

Stefano (September 6, 2006)

best record of 2006.

Stefano (September 6, 2006)

best record of 2006. f

crazytoledo (August 9, 2006)

One of my favorite albums this year...yea, I just finally picked up the album...

i had such high expectations for this album that i thought i was going to be let down once it was released.

safe to say i wasn't disappointed.

the reason i tie this album with "explosives..." is because i can relate to this album more than i can the first one (which is saying quite a lot), but also because they showed a great step in developing their sound and music.

i can't tell you how many times i've gotten chills listening to this.

etwiels88 (May 22, 2006)

Ahhh, I missed this review. I love CIS. A little hard to get into at first, but after like 5 spins it starts to click. Give it a chance!

The riff on Dark Island City is so goood

TIGHT (May 7, 2006)

I love it

Flowbee (April 24, 2006)

This review is dead on. If you listened to "The Contract" EP or the teaser that came out before this, the progression in sound shouldn't be all that surprising to you. "Gravity/Grace" is my favorite song on this record so far. I really look forward to hearing some of these new tunes live.

Anonymous (April 21, 2006)

Really good album. I didn't really know what to expect of it, I'd only heard one song by them. Every song is really good. They play an interesting style it kinda reminds me of a faster paced Get Up Kids.

GreenVandal (April 20, 2006)

not to regret is a smart man.

Scruffy (April 20, 2006)

Is every comment in this thread a joke?
I mean, this doesn't really sound like '98 Jade Tree, it doesn't sounds like the Lawrence Arms and this: "lawrence arms ripped of slapstick and the broadways.
START A NEW SOUNDING BAND,LAWRENCE ARMS.."
has got to be flamebait, or the dumbest post ever.

FortyMinutesWesterberg (April 20, 2006)

What I want to know is, is there really a shortage of bicycles if Afghanistan?

Anonymous (April 19, 2006)

haha lawrence arms clones?
shutup newjack.

lawrence arms ripped of slapstick and the broadways.
START A NEW SOUNDING BAND,LAWRENCE ARMS..

Not-To-Regret (April 19, 2006)

" i'm gonna pick this up after i fuck my girlfriend solely based on the fact that i really enjoyed the track that was posted with the review

-phdecontrol "

If that's a joke, its terrible, and if its serious, just as terrible.

I'm starting to hate this whole new style of punk, Lawrence Arms clones... Oh!Calcutta! is a terrible record, talk about "whoa on the whoas" so much repetition of choruses and random whoas. I miss the variety of old LA. The songs start off great but just end up becoming a mess of distortion and vocal yelling.

Anonymous (April 19, 2006)

Oh, that was me below.

- P-Fresh

Anonymous (April 19, 2006)

D. Perrone I love you, but we will fight over this record if we ever meet in person.

sickboi (April 19, 2006)

Weird. I just listened to the MP3.

I LOVED Explosives... but this doesn't sound like the same band...

Good, just not the same sound.

GreenVandal (April 19, 2006)

gay?

darkstarm (April 18, 2006)

I hate Tony Brummel, and I've never heard this band.

dougkatz (April 18, 2006)

oh great, now people are referring to them as a political band?

no gold stars for nationalism was the 2nd worst song on the first cd
if you think we're talking about you we are is the worst

apparently the concepts of these two songs were the ones they decided to base this cd on. oof

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

*wernt
|
V

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

Will,
this band sounds nothing like 1998 Jade Tree punk rock..at all.
Do some research before you spot off,causing you to look really stupid to people that actually know things about music.

And im sure you were like ten years old in 1998. Talking about music that you went around to see doesnt make you any cooler.

-bryan styles
ps,capitalist losers!?
are you serious dude...get a fucking clue.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

i'm gonna pick this up after i fuck my girlfriend solely based on the fact that i really enjoyed the track that was posted with the review

-phdecontrol

mikeinflames (April 18, 2006)

i'm gonna pick this up after work solely based on the fact that i really enjoyed the track that was posted with the review

kenfuggit (April 18, 2006)

Nitro Records........HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

*cough*

-Ken

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

I don't think SIrens knows that the fake Will and the fake Jesse are probably the same person.

sirens (April 18, 2006)

Im begininng to enjoy these random Akimbo > _____ posts. cause i whole heartedly agree with you on every single one.

Akimbo > Wow, Owls!

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

Akimbo > Crime in Stereo

-Jesse

sirens (April 18, 2006)

Will,

I guess you have a point, but capitalist losers? Thats alittle harsh. As if theyre trying to make sums of money with their huge offering "Crime in Stereo". This band is a great gateway for kids who want to get into political punk but only like AFI and Alkaline Trio. Fuck if theyre ripping off older bands, that is inevitable and going to keep happen. Its not neccisarly a bad thing, you play music you like. Arint you in a few bands? Youve drawn influences from ealier acts yourself. I highly doubt your bands are avant garde, but I would love to be proven wrong.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

Great cd. I'm totally diggin this shit right now. Can't wait till they come to Seattle.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

These guys are just the same as No Trigger, and the rest of Nitro's roster for that matter: a bunch of capitalist losers trying to appeal to people who are "fed up" with punk's current state. "Hey, let's rip off the 1998 Jade Tree punk rock sound!" Yeah, great idea. It's all been done before.

-Will

jamespastepunk (April 18, 2006)

i can't help but feel like this band is talking completely out of their ass in terms of lyrical content on this album. to me, they're trying extremely hard to be controversial and powerful in terms of talking about race and all the things wrong with the world, but for some reason, i can't take it seriously. i don't feel power behind it. i feel shit that's contrived. what does this guy know? i feel like he's rehashing some obvious points and feelings about the "state" of shit as opposed to really taking a stand...

No song is going to sum up a multi-facted argument on genocide. My guess is the singer writes through his own lens and isn't attempting to do anything else. And you know what? I agree with the guy. He's writing stuff that I can say, hey I look at the world that way too.

In my head, in this time, saying there's a problem that needs to be fixed in terms of race IS taking a side and making a stand. By bringing up the issue, one takes a stand, because now, you are saying there is a problem as opposed to saying there isn't. There are now sides. Of course, I could be completely wrong, but that's how I look at it.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

reminds me of the movielife, maybe better.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

one of the better hardcore discs of 2006

rubyx (April 18, 2006)

"when the women come out to dance" isn't on this. that's a great song.

score is for San Francisco's Earthquake and Fire centennial celebration.

hubitcherkokov (April 18, 2006)

"Slow Math" and "Bycycles for Afghanistan" mmmm....

I'm looking forward to checking out the rest of the album, but hot damn are those songs good.

modelcitizen (April 18, 2006)

this band just popped up on my radar a few weeks ago and i'm really digging them. i think this cd is really solid and i didn't notice any problems with flow. i saw them in st louis on sunday and they're coming back twice in may so i'll be seeing them then too.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

phenomenal band, great CD, rad liveshow.

They're going to save punk rock.

danperrone (April 18, 2006)

"the singer of this band isn't running for mayor of your town"

well, he's writing lyrics like he is

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

I had high hopes for this, and it disappointed me, good thing the no trigger cd is killer-oldpunker-

Frankff (April 18, 2006)

This record is higly enjoyable and is one of the highlights of 2006 so far.

almostpunkenough (April 18, 2006)

i love the great songs enought that i don't mind the few filler tracks.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

" i feel shit that's contrived. what does this guy know? "

the singer of this band isn't running for mayor of your town. And even if he was, like you voted for your city council members.

one time i totally took a stand in traffic, then the street sweepers had to clean it up.

wyzo

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

I've had this for a few days, but have yet to listen to it.
I saw them 3 weeks ago with Against All Authority, but didn't care too much for them.
Score is for the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre... god, was the movie fucking awful.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

I think this is a fucking fantastic cd. I think the best songs are bicycles for afghanistan and slow math. but I could kinda do without the slow singing parts. but I still can't take this cd out of my player. Wow 2 kick ass cds in 2 months by Nitro, this and No Trigger.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

the cover art reminds me of Braid's "Frame & Canvas"

DarrenMcLeod (April 18, 2006)

Very solid release. The teaser EP had me a bit worried, but I was pleasantly surprised when I received this in the mail.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

The new Sick Of It All is the fucking shit!

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

One footnote? 

Why not do a whole review with in one sentence but with many footnotes?

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

most of the songs are good, but only a few are excellent

SalsaShark (April 18, 2006)

I just bought "I, Stateside." Pretty decent. Not the best song in the world, but the ending kicks ass. I'm looking forward to seeing these guys.

danperrone (April 18, 2006)

also...

i can't help but feel like this band is talking completely out of their ass in terms of lyrical content on this album. to me, they're trying extremely hard to be controversial and powerful in terms of talking about race and all the things wrong with the world, but for some reason, i can't take it seriously. i don't feel power behind it. i feel shit that's contrived. what does this guy know? i feel like he's rehashing some obvious points and feelings about the "state" of shit as opposed to really taking a stand...

whatev

bobbett (April 18, 2006)

i really like the songs on this cd. i agree with brian that it doesn't flow that well, but each song is pretty strong, and somehow the record is more than the sum of its parts.

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

Bran Van 3000 songs are cool

danperrone (April 18, 2006)

or if he didn't try to sing so much

danperrone (April 18, 2006)

also, this band would be 100000x better with a new singer

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

I had never heard this band, and truthfully, I had thought they were a band I remember hearing and hated (what band I was actually thinking of is anyones guess now).

So crime in stereo is a fucking good band.

This is a great record, their EP I got after this is killer too.

Probably my favorite 'new' band, no information going into it, no expectations, completely happy.

Very rocking, great lyrics, good energy. Kind of like a less rock more punk/hardcore bronx.

wyzo

danperrone (April 18, 2006)

i really really dislike this cd

only good songs are bicycles, gravity grace, and for exes

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

Too bad, the CD also expanded on the best parts of the first one. Hmm.

JOSHCBFL

CUAPUNKRADIO (April 18, 2006)

in reference to the post a acouple below, TLA's 'cocktails and dreams' has really good flow despite it being a b-side collection, in fact it flows better than guided tour, ghost stories and maybe even apathy and exhaustion

Anonymous (April 18, 2006)

this cd expanded on the worst parts of the first one, too bad

TheOneTrueBill (April 18, 2006)

No SIOA or NOFX review?

badmouth (April 18, 2006)

for the great review, it seems like it deserves more stars, i mean i haven't picked it up yet, but if it doesn't flow, so what? the b-sides of the lawrence arms, people seem to think it's their best record, although Oh Calcutta! flows wonderously, the flow of the album should not be a highly judged aspect and also i think bicycles were sent.

Godfather (April 18, 2006)

i know brian didn't just use a footnote

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