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

March 1st, 2010 by Eric Loose

It’s one thing to discover a band through their recorded material and consequently see them live, but it’s a whole ‘nother deal to be introduced to a band live and accordingly hear their album. Well, this is the case for me, at least. The whole system of expectations is just a bit out of whack. Sometimes sound and energy translate, many times it doesn’t… well, there’re just many more variables and uncertainties that leave me a little uneasy with the experience. This was the case with Crime In Stereo. Opening for Thrice and Brand New is no easy task, the frontman made himself memorable with his shrill screams amidst the post-hardcore-esque flurry of guitars. Anyway, going into the Long Island natives’ 2010 LP, I tried to keep an open mind, but I have to admit I was a little excited. And what happens when I get excited about something again?… oh, that’s right! I get let down.

Crime In Stereo are, in essence, very similar to Brand New except for the fact that they lean more heavily towards a melodic / post-hardcore sound. As much as it pains me to admit that a sound seemingly based so closely to another prominent band’s is a recipe for success, it kinda is. Crime In Stereo, while not entirely establishing their own identity, succeeded in their past endeavors. It fit! -that particular sound, that is. The main problem with I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone is the display of Crime In Stereo exhibiting ambition beyond themselves. The experiments on I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone are certainly interesting ones, but do they form a cohesive and substantial album? -think again.

It’s apparent from the beginning of “Queue Moderns” that Crime In Stereo are either pushing their limits or have stretched them a little too far. The meandering ambient sounds with soft vocals don’t quite mesh with the harsher screams that appear out of nowhere. The opener, even if it’s only a little over a minute, is a sufficient analogy for the rest of the album. I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone, while certainly managing to avoid convention here and there, comes off as a bit misguided and patchy overall. “Queue Moderns” transitions awkwardly into what I can safely say is the best output on I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone, “Drugwolf.” It’s a more conventional approach to post-hardcore, but it has a certain life and energy that make it difficult not to love. On the other hand, tracks like “Young” simply take the idea of dynamic song structure too far, to the point of nauseam. Starting off slow and soft, then erupting in a full-band sprawl, it comes off very scattered. Eventually, the experimentation and digression from conventional post-hardcore on I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone become irritating and obvious. It sounds much less sincere than the screaming fury I witnessed before Jesse Lacey and Dustin Kensrue.

That being said, I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone has its fair share of redeeming qualities. While the overarching idea that fuels Crime In Stereo here is a little shakey, it’s hard to discredit them for a few distinct successful facets on I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone. For starters, the vocals are certainly dynamic and enjoyable. While the album’s pacing is a bit slipshod, the vocals provide a more steady foothold. Tracks like “I Am Everything I Am Not” have a great “Brand New – B-Side” quality to them. While Crime In Stereo certainly push their limits here, it’s pretty evident that I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone is an endeavor a smidgeon past their comfort zone; and in seeing this, their latest fails to fall in my comfort zone, too.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

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