The Blood Brothers - Crimes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Blood Brothers

Crimes (2004)


The Blood Brothers have always been innovators. From their music to their merchandise, they've left dozens of soundalines and lookalines in their wake, never being content with where they are now. The Blood Brothers are one of those bands you can always count on to deliver something wholly original, whether or not you like it.

Fortunately, you'll like Crimes. You'll like it a lot.

Reeling in some of the spasticness from Burn Piano Island, Burn while at the same time lashing out even stronger, Crimes' 13 tracks and short running time (just under 39 minutes, to be precise) feels like a band finally coming into their own--ironic, since they've already made the album that most people will remember them for and consider their "benchmark" (Burn). The thing is, go listen to Burn again, and you'll find a record with an emormous lag in its mid-to-end section, and at close to an hour, the record had the chance to get old before you were even done listening to it. Crimes does not. These songs breeze by, with eight of them being under three minutes (and one, "Beautiful Horses," not even making two). Even the four-and-a-half minute "Peacocks Skeleton With Crooked Feathers" seems shorter than it is, due to the bouncy keyboard part delivered by screamer Johnny Whitney (y'know, the blond).

And speaking of Whitney, you might have thought his neck hair-raising yowls couldn't get any more high-pitched. Well, you'd be wrong - one listen to "Trash Flavored Trash" or "Rats And Rats And Rats For Candy" and you'll wonder if he's actually a chipmunk in a human costume. Co-screamer Jordan Blilie (y'know, the brunette) has developed almost a sinister quality to his delivery, sufficiently upping the creep-out factor.The two fuse their vocals even more perfectly than before, especially on the hip-hop breakdown in "Teen Heat."

Yeah, there's really a hip-hop breakdown, delivered courtesy of drummer du jour Marc Gadahjar. His style is equal parts Wu Tang and Saetia (or precision and tension, if you're uncomfortable with that analogy). Musically, this band just keeps getting better and better. Cody Votolato's guitar slices through Blilie and Whitney's banshee yells, and bassist/synth op Morgan Henderson makes himself near-invisible throughout the album, merely filling out what little space the band leaves him with aplomb.

The Blood Brothers aren't really "hardcore" anymore. "Sasscore," a term coined by yours truly, has already seemed to pigeonhole the band's sound (as evidenced by the gorgeous slow jam that is the title track). There's still a swagger evident in these songs, and while the band knows they're hot shit, they don't let it get in the way of doing what they do best - writing damn good songs. They didn't go overboard with production on here, nor extraneous instrumentation. They don't need to; they can leave all that to their imitators, who are still playing catch-up. Only the Blood Brothers could pull this album off, and the ease at which they do it is a refreshing slap in the face to all who listen.


Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck [clip]

Stream the entire record here