[22 July 2008]
The Classic Crime is not your older brother’s emo band. And, for the first time in a long time, that’s a good thing. From the forefathers of the genre/subgenre/movment (have we ever settled just what “emo” is?) to newer phenoms like Sunny Day Real Estate, Jimmy Eat World and The Juliana Theory, previous generations of bands have been far superior to what’s come down the pike in the last few years. While the Seattle quintet isn’t quite free of the entanglements that have plagued the current crop of MTV darlings, (The Silver Cord still relies on a few too many trite progressions and melodies) the band’s second album brings promise that a band or bands could come along and stretch the style past its self-imposed limitations.
Singer Matt MacDonald adeptly leads his bandmates through a set of fifteen songs marked by innovations that, compared to their contemporaries, seem positively revolutionary. Production values, for example, mean something more to The Classic Crime than applying another coat of pop sheen to their tracks. The band brings more than a few loud guitars to the table (incorporating keyboards deftly into a few tracks) and varies up the style/rhythm of several songs to showcase influences ranging from Dashboard Confessional (“Everything”) to Queen (briefly in the vocal interlude on “Sing”).
Indeed, the band’s appreciation for music from decades past is evident throughout the album (hear the ‘80s guitar on “Grave Digging” and the late ‘90s aesthetic at the start of “R&R”). With MacDonald a stronger vocalist than many of his counterparts, the band’s future looks bright should they continue to pursue some of their bolder urges.