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Crime in Stereo - I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone (Cover Artwork)

Crime in Stereo

Crime in Stereo: I Was Trying to Describe You to SomeoneI Was Trying to Describe You to Someone (2010)
Bridge Nine Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


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

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "We change, whether we like it or not." In this case, I assume that by the first "we" he also meant "our favourite bands." All of you who expect a punk band--a living organism comprised of living organisms--to stay exactly the same over long periods of time are .
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As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "We change, whether we like it or not." In this case, I assume that by the first "we" he also meant "our favourite bands."

All of you who expect a punk band--a living organism comprised of living organisms--to stay exactly the same over long periods of time are kidding yourselves. Some do it, sure. But that's not art--that's a business model. Picasso went through periods both Blue and Rose in a five-year span. Why anyone would want Crime in Stereo to put out Explosives and the Will to Use Them 2.0 now, in 2010, is beyond me, though I know that some of you must harbour such a desire in your twisted little hearts. In any case, some punk bands are more into change than others (Propagandhi, Thrice, Brand New, I'm looking at you guys) and CIS, if their fourth full-length, I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone, is anything to go on, is another band in that vein.

The bulk of the work is done already, of course. 2007's fabulous Is Dead was a reasonably radical break from their previous sound (and I'm not just talking about the dance beats in "Small Skeletal")--a much more drastic departure from the very solid but relatively unambitious The Troubled Stateside than I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone is from Is Dead. Even so, there are still little shifts here, and seemingly all of them come at the expense of the more straightforward melodic hardcore sound found in the band's earliest work.

There's the sonic backmasking that goes on during the climax of "Drugwolf," undoubtedly one of the standout tracks on the album. There's the, dare I say it, Nirvana-esque chorus of first single "Not Dead." There's the acoustic sing-along of the heartrendingly beautiful "Young," and the re-worked "Dark Island City," a slowed-down, elongated and de-clawed version of the all-too-short little riffgasm that appeared on The Troubled Stateside, with just as many lyrics as the original.

The band has not, however, severed their ties with their older material. On Track 8, "Republica," Kristian Hallbert twice sings "I think I'm starting to--" and thanks to his vocal melody it's hard not to mentally finish his lines with "relate... / To these troubled states" (see Stateside closer "I, Stateside"). "Not Dead" seems as obvious a rebuttal to the title of their last album as is possible, and the aforementioned "Dark Island City" is a nod to--and update on--a song first released almost four years ago. The album's lyrics, which mix the personal with the political and the private with the public in as beautiful and haunting a fashion as I think I've seen anywhere in punk, are vintage Crime in Stereo in their tone, but seem a like definite improvement on past outings. These guys haven't forgotten their past, but they certainly aren't wallowing in it.

I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone is a very strong album, and there's likely enough melodic hardcore on it to satisfy even some of the old-school hxc die-hard fans. Nevertheless, it represents a slight evolution of their sound, and a clear step towards a more diverse sonic palette, not unlike Blacklisted's wonderfully varied 2009 full-length No One Deserves to Be Here More Than Me (though both records feature, shall we say, unconventional album art...). If this is the new hardcore, sign me up for more.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Flatliners - CavalcadeThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldA Wilhelm Scream - Career SuicideThe Clash - London CallingCrime in Stereo - Is DeadAgainst Me! - As The Eternal Cowboy

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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.
Wrongturn (August 14, 2013)

This is in my top 5 favorite albums. No doubt.

TSOL (June 12, 2010)

Amazing band. Love melodic hardcore, and they really push the boundaries to make the music stand out. I can see this being a cross btw Stateside and Is Dead, don't see how this could disappoint anyone who liked Is dead

wyzo (March 20, 2010)

I don't like listening to records I want to be good, but this is pretty solid, consistent. In the way that Thrice's Beggars made me like the alchemy EP's a little more, I dig '...Is Dead' more after hearing this.

I'd like to see if they could maintain this with a different producer. Pretty great record, I dig this and the new thrice, a surprising pair for me to have as favorite records, but both of them slim, concise, no filler, enough kick to them but both not afraid of a melody or 2 minute plus song (IF needed). Now if only thrice would quit inserting cs lewis into their lyrics, it'd be perfect.

Great tunes. My only anxiety is the inevitable use of a great song like is dead in a future guitar hero game or on the background speakers at a mountain dew skating event. Which would hurt my soul, but it is a catchy tune, hard to know what to tell bands to do. Got to be a way to feel validated without having to market songs for bros to hang out to.

Anyway, wonderful record.

smarttrigger (March 15, 2010)

Great album! It took quite a few listens, but it eventually won me over. Much better than Is Dead.

b4ndit (March 13, 2010)

There isn't much that is wrong with this album. To anyone who believes it's a departure from their roots, you should have stopped listening at Is Dead and continued to jerk off onto your Clerks DVD.

Troubled Stateside is one of my top 5 favorite albums, but this album exemplifies what band maturation should be. They STAY TRUE to their roots while artistically weaving progressions and lyrics not normally found on the peer's releases. 5/5 from me.

ReedAreTheUnion (March 9, 2010)

I'm pretty sure I'll be the only one, but I enjoy this record way more than any other Crime in Stereo release.
It's not that I don't like their older material, but it didn't grab me in the same way this record did.
This will almost definitely be in my top ten of 2010.

hobbzoid (March 6, 2010)

This record is a perfect example of bands who should change their name when they want to change up this much. So much noodling bullsnot on this LP it just gets so boring. It's what I always say, "Where the hell are the SONGS man?!"

There are a few good ones and a bunch of weirdo shit. Get wise and don't buy.

broceratops (March 2, 2010)

It's too bad about the atrocious cover art.

jamespastepunk (March 2, 2010)

"I honestly think that CIS could slap a piece of dogshit on a cd and most of the people on here would sing their praises and try their hardest to find a way to like them so they can be edgy and cool.
I hate when bands sell out their old fans like this. I can understand the need to want to evolve and whatever but a complete genre change is almost requiring a band name change. If Slayer put out a country album or if Sick of it all put out an R'n'B album, how would the fans like it?"

I don't think you understand what words mean. Ignoring the fact that you just said bands should never deviate from a record fans liked, which is frightening, I Was Trying to Describe You To Someone is not as neck snapping a change as you believe. Alex is still writing about girls and jihad and the band is still playing something closely related to hardcore punk. Yes, Kristian's actually trying to sing. Stop pretending this frightens you.

Selling you out would be Alex writing an entire record full of un-threatening un-ambiguous songs about girls while the band played ALL TIME LOW-esque pop, and brother, that shit ain't happening.

As for the idea that Crime In Stereo fans are edgy and cool, I'm sitting in front of an entire row of comic books, the prizes of which are my two Hellboy Library Editions and the Immoral Iron Fist Omnibus.

LooseKanonYankee (March 1, 2010)

I think of a breakdown as anytime a band starts to play in halftime mid-song
like at the end of drugwolf for example

robalobadob (February 28, 2010)

@ mikexdude

"This record just takes the hardcore even further down.. there are still breakdowns, and there's still energy."

Where exactly are the breakdowns? I've only listened through once or twice now but I don't remember any breakdowns happening.

whatchokesbegin (February 27, 2010)

I hated this the first few times I listened to it, but then it grabbed me and wouldn't let go. After a few weeks, I'm still thoroughly digging it. I can't say yet whether it will grow on me more than Is Dead did. If you're thinking of writing them off for this, give it time to really sink in first.

elliot (February 26, 2010)

I couldn't even make it through a single track on this thing, and gave up about seven tracks in. What the fuck is this garbage? People actually like this? Ugh, god help ya. Experimentation can be a terrible thing for a band, especially when they don't know what they're trying to do, and instead are just flailing at some vague "new" sound. That's all this is.

laserguidedbygod (February 25, 2010)

@LooseKanonYankee

Fair enough, carry on.

fixedfrequencies (February 25, 2010)

I like where this band was and is heading

LooseKanonYankee (February 25, 2010)

hey laserguided, I didnt say you had to like the fact that cis isnt playing melodic hardcore, Im just tired of people talking about this record like it is a melodic hardcore record.

mikexdude (February 25, 2010)

I hate when bands sell out their old fans like this. I can understand the need to want to evolve and whatever but a complete genre change is almost requiring a band name change. If Slayer put out a country album or if Sick of it all put out an R'n'B album, how would the fans like it?

I honestly don't think they're selling out their old fans at all; this is a totally natural progression. Troubled Stateside was melodic hardcore at its most simple, but you're ignoring the amount of experimenting they did with guitar effects and rhythmns. Is Dead switched those roles: more weird parts, less hardcore. This record just takes the hardcore even further down.. there are still breakdowns, and there's still energy. Yes, I would be mad if slayer put out a RnB album, because they never hinted at where CIS made baby steps to this.

I honestly think that CIS could slap a piece of dogshit on a cd and most of the people on here would sing their praises and try their hardest to find a way to like them so they can be edgy and cool.

Edgy and cool? Do you know where I live, most people DESPISE this band.

damnitsderek (February 24, 2010)

I like it so far, but I can tell it's going to be a grower.

Blackjaw_ (February 24, 2010)

As for the statement of bands being a business model when they don't change, well tell that to Bad Religion.

I don't see how that disproves that statement at all. Bad Religion tried to change, remember? And everyone hated them for it so they went back to what they had been doing and kept doing the same thing more or less for the rest of their career? To me that's a clear sign of it being a business model/decision.

leightonesmith (February 24, 2010)

I honestly think that CIS could slap a piece of dogshit on a cd and most of the people on here would sing their praises and try their hardest to find a way to like them so they can be edgy and cool.
I hate when bands sell out their old fans like this. I can understand the need to want to evolve and whatever but a complete genre change is almost requiring a band name change. If Slayer put out a country album or if Sick of it all put out an R'n'B album, how would the fans like it?
As for the Brand New comparision, it is totally valid. They started out as a punk band. Anyone who has heard Daisy and trying to describe it to someone else wouldn't use the word 'punk' as their first descriptor.
As for the statement of bands being a business model when they don't change, well tell that to Bad Religion.
It's a devisive record and i guess all we can do is hope that some other band can step up and carry on the melodic hardcore banner in CIS's stead.
*Paging No Trigger to thread...... *

mikexdude (February 24, 2010)

blanktapes,

I doubt anyone is addressing your question beause discussing someone else's personality over the internet is stupid.

woodprop (February 24, 2010)

Well the rumour that it's between Stateside and Is Dead can be put to rest. I loved those records. I tried liking this, but I can't get into it. Huge letdown.

blanktapesemptybottles (February 24, 2010)

no one's gonna address my question?

twstdbydsn (February 24, 2010)

On the first listen through... I'm not sure how I feel. The album just sounds flat to me so far.

RondoMondo (February 24, 2010)

"All of you who expect a punk band--a living organism comprised of living organisms--to stay exactly the same over long periods of time are kidding yourselves. Some do it, sure. But that's not art--that's a business model."

Total BS statement.

Anyway, pretty decent CD. Not really anything to cream over, but decent none the less.

laserguidedbygod (February 24, 2010)

"stop pretending cis makes melodic hardcore anymore, they dont, accept it, its totally fine"

No one has to accept that one of the best melodic hardcore bands out there became a second-rate Brand New cover band. I like Brand New, but there are several bands doing that sound way better than Crime is right now, and I wish Crime would at least gravitate back towards the influences that brought out their best. Is Dead showed that they could evolve into a different sound while staying somewhat themselves, and in my opinion they jumped the shark on this record. I think it's acceptable for a person to be disappointed by that.

half_head (February 24, 2010)

"not dead" is an awesome song!

LooseKanonYankee (February 24, 2010)

First off, I think troubled stateside was a very ambitious melodic hardcore album, one of the best every released in the genre

Second, Im very dissapointed that CIS hyped this up as "is dead meets stateside" because it sounds nothing like that

third, This isnt really a melodic hardcore record, stop pretending cis makes melodic hardcore anymore, they dont, accept it, its totally fine

almostpunkenough (February 23, 2010)

this is a masterpiece, just like "...Is Dead" and "Explosvies..." and "Stateside" and everything else they've done.

i wish it was a tad faster at times, butthat's not so much a complaint as it is a personal preference. but yea, the first truly amazing album of 2010.

thepopeofchili-town (February 23, 2010)

This album ranges from okay to pretty good, which is a huge step up from their older stuff that I'd say ranges from bad to worse.

blanktapesemptybottles (February 23, 2010)

when I talked to the singer at Verse's last show, he had this whole "holier than thou" way about him, did anyone else catch that?

T-Rock (February 23, 2010)

Thanks for the suggestions, all. Robbers and Weatherbox are good stuff. Just gave them each a short listen.

quickattack (February 23, 2010)

Like everything they've done. I downloaded this and really liked it. I will purchase it shortly.

trevor905 (February 23, 2010)

i like it.... a lot.

johnnydanger (February 23, 2010)

Truly believe this is the worst record put out by the worst band

Blackjaw_ (February 23, 2010)

inagreendase: Mansions and Robbers fall into the same kind of 'realm' of music, sure, but they don't really sound like this at face value. I would actually say Weatherbox would fit. If you like this CIS album, you should like American Art.

lifebystereo (February 23, 2010)

I like this quite a bit, especially Not Dead, Drugwolf, and Type One.

usversusthem (February 23, 2010)

T-Rock: Completely agree about "I Cannot Answer You Tonight." I wrote this up in a hurry yesterday afternoon and obviously didn't edit it enough times before submitting, or I would have included a sentence or two about that song. Along with "Drugwolf" and "Young" it's definitely one of my favourites on the album.

inagreendase (February 23, 2010)

T-Rock: A lot of bands in the BN/CIS/Mike Sapone network follow this description (Mansions, Colour Revolt, Robbers, Balance and Composure [listen to the Tigers Jaw split as soon as it's available]). Those are probably your best bets.

laserguidedbygod (February 23, 2010)

I loved Is Dead. I hate this.

xshoutoutx (February 23, 2010)

this band is dull

T-Rock (February 23, 2010)

I love this band and their "new sound" because its so moody. The word used in the review -- "haunting" -- is perfect, and I can't think of a band that I've listened to that has done it better. With that in mind, I'm completely up for suggestions on other "haunting, moody" bands. And no, don't suggest Brand New. I don't see the comparison.

Anyways, amazing release, and definitely my album of the year at this point. I can't foresee any release that will overtake it, unless something comes out of the blue. Also, "I Cannot Answer You Tonight" is the best song on the album, by far. The closing screams of "come back to meeee" always get to me.

oldpunkerforever (February 23, 2010)

just want to add, this clearly expands on the is dead ideas, and meakes them better. Wow, listening to this for the 3 time today and darn it keeps sounding better, could also be the donuts im eating too-oldpunker-

Apeman_on_the_moon (February 23, 2010)

Just because it's not verse chorus verse doesn't mean it's "unique" or "experimental". I like Crime in Stereo when they bust out of the gate with over the top guitar hooks like on The Troubled Stateside. Or when they do channel their slower side and make more "accessible" music like on Is Dead. But this is just a step down. I'm not saying it's bad, but it's not great either. And by now I expect "great" from these guys.

salvation (February 23, 2010)

didn't know what to expect from this, but i love it. i liked is dead a lot, but this to me is much better. as much as i love the old stuff, this album is really fucking great in it's own way.

jamespastepunk (February 23, 2010)

This record is great. Blacklisted's No One Deserves... is also great.

Buy both.

Oh: The re-recording of Dark Island City is some George Lucas shit, I think we can all agree.

R3vengeTherapy (February 23, 2010)

I wish everyone would stop comparing this band to Brand New, because I'm sure people who've never heard them are starting to think that the bands sound identical when that's hardly the case.

This record is great, but Is Dead is better. Some of the vocal melodies don't work as well this time around and some of the songs start to feel like too much, mostly just "Exit Halo" which doesn't do anything for me until well into the second half of the song.

But "Republica"? Fuck, what a great song.

piata (February 23, 2010)

The worst part of this album is the artwork. Otherwise it would be 4 start material.

TahoeJeff (February 23, 2010)

I've never checked out this band, but this review makes me a little curious.

Jelone (February 23, 2010)

Cautiously optimistic about this. Hoping to grab a copy after work today. Double-hoping to catch their record release show in West Chester with the Menzingers on Thursday.

preston (February 23, 2010)

I'm all for change. I was expecting some interesting things on this album. After a couple listens, it's just kind of boring. I'm hoping I find more to like after some more listens.

red_eye_inc (February 23, 2010)

I just finished listening to this a few minutes ago, I was extremely underwhelmed. Boring, bland, derivative.

tom1022 (February 23, 2010)

I haven't heard this other than the songs they posted on myspace. I love Crime in Stereo and I'll probably get this, but one thing that always bothers me is that they get so much praise for "evolving" and "changing their sound" when they are pretty much just following in the footsteps of Brand New. So they weren't the most original melodic-hardcore band, but they wrote some really solid tunes. They are still good, and they still write solid tunes, but I wouldn't call them any more original or innovative than they were before. They simply switched from one genre to another.

salsashark (February 23, 2010)

Not a word about "I Am Everything I Am Not," the album's second best track (after Drugwolf)? Come on!

This shit is brilliant. The Brand New comparison is dead-on and I am ecstatic to see a band that doesn't give a shit about sticking to a limited blueprint of their form. I can't wait for the next one -- I hope it's even weirder.

Alien (February 23, 2010)

this is a very cool release. I liked troubled stateside a lot. and I liked is dead more. I think this is great.

xchemicalx (February 23, 2010)

No they can't be expected to put out Explosives 2.0... because the've been too busy working on Is Dead 2.0.... which is just Brand New part 4 at this point. It's not a bad record, but I've heard it too many times before.

AnEpicProblem (February 23, 2010)

6/10

thirtyseconds (February 23, 2010)

Good review, apart from the second paragraph is totally unnecessary in my opinion.

I wish I could afford this.

insinceredave (February 23, 2010)

Good review, i'll be picking this up some time this week

oldpunkerforever (February 23, 2010)

brilliant, plain and simple-oldpunker-

defianceohioequalslove (February 23, 2010)

Am I the only person that thought "No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me" was an awful album?

Maybe it's just because I'm not too big on Nirvana...

mikexdude (February 23, 2010)

I quit.

PunkCDSampler (February 23, 2010)

I always expect Strike Anywhere to put out the same album and they always do. And this makes me happy.

mikexdude (February 23, 2010)

Good review.

Blackjaw_ (February 23, 2010)

incroyable!

inagreendase (February 23, 2010)

I'd still prefer an epic closer.

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