In the interest of candidness, I haven’t heard this band since 2008’s Selective Wreckage, their singles collection, which was also my introduction to ‘em. So yeah, I’m definitely a novice when it comes to their catalogue. I do remember not being terribly impressed with Selective Wreckage but willing to write off the questionable production tricks and stutters and skips in pacing due to the fact that it was indeed a singles collection. The problem is that Crime In Stereo suffers from the same thing here: I Was Trying… still sounds like a group relying way too heavily on flash and smoke; in effect-trickery instead of actual songwriting. Like they’re more interested in crafting interesting sections rather than whole songs, you know? In a song like “Drugwolf,” the guitarists utilize more effects than The Edge did throughout the entire goddamn recording of The Joshua Tree, and “Not Dead,” the following song, sounds like a drawn-out mixmash of Nirvana and Marilyn Manson or something equally as ridiculous. And that’s just two songs. The production values are either incredible or woefully overblown, depending on your viewpoint, and while there are brief flashes of hardcore scattered throughout the album, the band’s mostly relying on these strange, nearly prog-rock structures peppered with speed bumps of radio-friendly dross. What is great in theory just makes it, in reality, nearly impossible to discern one song from another. The whole thing eventually comes across as background noise with some odd random jarring parts thrown in every once in a while. Some people would say it’s a “challenging” record; to me it just sounds like various song parts smooshed together and coated in some kind of ProTools gloss in the hopes that it’ll sound like a cohesive album. There are undoubtedly some fascinating parts here, but that doesn’t exactly make for compelling and repeated listens, you know?
–keith (Bridge 9)