Crime In Stereo: I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone

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Crime In Stereo 

Written By:

Aidan Williamson

18th February 2010
At 11:02 GMT

1 comment(s)

It's the classic bait and switch. Offer something desirable to people and just when they're about to snap it up, throw that arm behind your back and extend something entirely different to them.

As one might assume, not everybody is thrilled with the action. Much like Funeral for a Friend, Brand New, Refused, Liars and Radiohead, Crime in Stereo hooked the fans with one sound, before proceeding to change almost everything they were.

Observe on their first E.P "The Contract" and début album "Explosives and the Will to Use Them". You see a straight-forward enough hardcore band jamming violent assault into songs of 150 seconds or less. Skip forward to present day and we have experimental rock infused with a progressive tribalism and haunting, disconnected vocals.

Of course the comparisons to Brand New will be rife, after all, they became a little undeniable on the likes of "Dark Island City" and throughout the album as panicked shrieks adorn surges of guitar distortion. All of this is superficial though, for taken in context, the similarities grow dim very quickly. A few seconds with the extraordinary interlude to "Exit Halo" which lunges from enormously catchy shouts-in-the-distance amid a hauntingly ethereal E-bow riff refrain to painfully atonal distortion into chaos as every element from the song is thrown against the wall and laughed at hysterically as it slides, lifeless and limp, streaking huge swathes of blood in its wake.

The two sides of light and dark are rarely polarised quite so abruptly as this. The band have wisely chosen not to repeat the quiet/loud dynamic ad nauseum but instead make the songs earn their payoff. "Odalisque" retains the same looping riff throughout the song as other elements slip around it, propelling it to its big finish.

Then for added variety we have the likes of "I Am Everything I Am Not" which in all honesty could just as easily be at home on an Interpol album (we'd say Antics, but they'd need some vocal changes) as it is on this album.

So although there are milestones throughout which point to a myriad of other bands, it's safe to say that with I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone, CiS have compiled a sound all of their own. Tribal fury underwritten by sensitive rustic noodlings which, like all good albums, can detonate all of your expectations at the drop of a hat (like say how we expect decent album art, the band completely blew that one to the borders).

We fear that the startling change in sound over the last few albums may have alienated many fans for all time. In the run up to this album's release, it's a distinct understatement to say that emotions were charged and opinions divided. None of that changes the fact that IWTTDYTS is an extraordinarily complex, intelligent, melodic, unique and emotionally charged album.

That's pretty much everything on our "is it a great album" checklist.

Rating:  9 / 10

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