Strung Out - Crossroads & Illusions (Cover Artwork)

Strung Out

Crossroads & Illusions (1998)

Fat Wreck Chords

Strung Out are excellent. This EP. is a reflection of just how good they are. There are 5 songs on this release, the opening 2 tracks are taken from the utterly brilliant Twisted By Design.

"Crossroads" is the opening tune, and it really is a great opening song. Which is why it never really sat well with me personally, in the middle of Twisted by Design. But it does sit well here in the EP in review. It is very fast, with classic Strung Out guitar, sets one theme of the album (crossroads). The ending guitars are superb, it was loud enough but for some reason it needs to be turned up louder. Strung Out lyrics have always touched my soul, loads of people will agree that Jason Cruz's words of wisdom seem to be spot on and inspiring. " I gotta find a better way before I lose another part of me." A hint of depression, but we all know what he is on about.

The second song is "Mind of My Own." Depressing, in fact I think this is Strung Out at its lowest. However this song is still fantastic. The riff is so catchy and sets the mood of the song. It is a slow song, with the singing not branching too far, keeping the mood set in the depressing state of mind (the lyrics are actually "I don't have a mind of my own"). The meaning of the lyrics and the music are in perfect harmony here. The last verse is slightly more powerful, and sounds so tight and clean. So the volume goes up a further notch.

The third track also happens to be my favorite Strung Out song, "Barfly." This song means a lot to me because it relates to the consequences of long term alcohol abuse. Something I still am yet to overcome. Every time I hear the song, I feel its written for me. I'm sure so many others would feel the same way. Musically this song is great. The start is completely different to the rest. It drums into your head, it grabs your attention, and makes you listen. Then the song changes almost as if it is starting over again and then "..another wasted night and here I am again..." The song continues to changes pace and I cant hear enough of it, super fast then melodic, The song continues. Strung Out's drumming has always been amongst the elite, and the fills on this track are superb. This brings me to my highlight of this EP. " tired of looking at the world with both eyes open wide to the truth. I want to be found smiling when I die here, I want to burn my eye's on the sun..." At that point in the song, every time sends shivers down my spine.

"Ghostown," the fourth song, in my mind the final song of the EP this song ties the EP together. This song finishes what Crossroads started no more than three songs ago. It is a refreshment, this is not a huge stand out track. Perhaps why it is a B-side. But it is essential to the EP. The whole Crossroads & Illusions theme is about choices, and this song states that you shouldn't regret the decisions you made that turned out wrong. "some things in life I think you shouldn't know, if I'm on a one way street to nowhere at least I made it there to say I don't regret a single thing that I have done." That is pride.

The final instalment on this 5 song EP is titled "Open Mic." Which refers to the fact that it is an instrumental song, and if anyone would like to grace the open mic and try to make lyrics for this short song of mayhem, by all means.

This EP is still in print, and is inexpensive to own. I choose to give it 4 stars for the 4 songs on it that continue to give me some kind of happiness.