We have all heard bands that we knew were capable of more than what they were currently producing. You know the kind of album that says “this band has something in them that could destroy the music scene,” but it’s not quite there on whichever release you’re listening to? Well for me, one of the best examples of this would be Crime in Stereo’s …Is Dead which though a breakthrough for modern melodic hardcore, always left me feeling like CIS could do more. Now, three years later, the album I [and the rest of their fans] knew they had in them has arrived. I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone, which hits stores February 23rd, is an unpredictable sonic journey through heartache that pushes the very boundaries of their musical landscape.
Kicking things off with the subtle, yet building “Queue Moderns,” Crime in Stereo welcome us into their melodic atmosphere graciously before exploding into a grunge laced punk jam that leads directly into the single “Drugwolf.” Some may be turned off by the band’s slightly more relaxed and mature sound on this track, but I think it shows amazing growth, experimentation, and really sets up the rest of the release.
As we begin to really sink our teeth into the meat of I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone there is no denying the band’s use of Is Dead to jump into the world of experimentation. Where “Not Dead” rattles like a caged animal with a killer grunge hook, “Young” has the somber melody of early millennium acoustic pop punk tracks before it inflates into an all out alt rock ballad with punk heart and a story any twenty-something could relate to.
As the album continues along, vocalist Kristian Halbert truly pushes himself to expand his sound and his efforts are met with great success. The band is continuously trudging between distortion lace gang vocals and riveting chord progressions and all the while Halbert wears his heart on his sleeve and throws his voice for all its worth. It works again and again on the record before the band completely connects on every level for the jaw dropping “I Am Everything I Am Not.” By blending near jam ready guitar riffs with a flood of drums and vocals to reach your heart and mind, this song takes an already great album to an all new peak.
Crime in Stereo then make an uncommon move in this scene by deciding to end the record with a blend of their hardest and softest moments. Long time fans will probably find something quite fascinating with the extremely tame and moody “Dark Island City,” but I feel it will most likely go overlooked by casual fans as it sits between the best song on the record and the ridiculously catchy “I Cannot Answer You Tonight” which closes the record. It’s definitely a gem though, so be sure to check it out.
I Was Trying to Describe You To Someone is exactly the kind of record the music industry as a whole needs right now. Every moment on this record is packed with more honesty, heart, and soul than 90% of any song your likely to hear these days. Whether it’s in the vocals or the instrumentation, Crime in Stereo never let a moment pass without doing their best to leave an impact on you and the results are absolutely breathtaking. This is not only the record we knew they could make, it’s better.
Review written by: James Shotwell