Review : The Classic - Crime Phoenix
AltpressGive Seattle quartet the Classic Crime credit: They’re not afraid of a little drama. They “wander through the desert under the cover of night looking for a fire that bring us to life,” as they explain on “Young Again” and stand on “The Precipice” where “piece by piece, I build the cell I’m in, but I only stay here long enough to write the saddest song.” Somewhere, Morrissey’s feeling verklempt.
Despite brooding, over-the-top mopiness that would make Edward Cullen seem cheery, the arrangements are elegantly tuneful with an atmospheric sweep and production as crystal as the water in the Caribbean. Whatever the tone, they can craft a couplet and singer Matt MacDonald has a boyish tenor that’s keenly matched to the skygazing searcher full of questions evoked by the lyrics. You can almost hear his wide eyes and apple cheeks as he attests, “I’ve seen the face of God through miles of black ice,” on the surprisingly deft road paean “What I’d Give Up.” (No steel horse metaphors here.)
The band’s fourth full-length, Phoenix, delivers crisp, somewhat shiny rock that sounds like Matchbox 20 if Rob Thomas had developed a sweater fetish and an adoration for the weepy spirit of second-wave emo acts like Further Seems Forever. It’s really not too far removed from their last two albums for Tooth & Nail, 2010’s Vagabonds and 2008’s The Silver Cord. It’s a bit more epic and widescreen, like they felt there was something to prove after leaving the label and funding this release through Kickstarter. That jeopardizes the charm that came from their more understated efforts, such as 2007’s acoustic Seattle Sessions EP and Vagabonds’ showstopping “Happy Nihilist.” Sadly there’s nothing here as arresting as the latter track or its title track companion....full text
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