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8 out of 10
I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone is the follow up to the absurdly good ...Is Dead, from Long Island genre-transcenders Crime in Stereo. While .Is Dead showed them to be capable of moving beyond their hardcore influences, which they demonstrated on their previous two albums, I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone was inevitably a trickier proposition. Have Crime in Stereo progressed, regressed or stayed in the warm comfort of familiarity?
Well to say they haven't progressed would be a travesty. This is another massive step forward in the career path of a band that clearly has the drive, and courage, to constantly reinvent themselves. And I think that importantly, they have the trust of their fans, after the success of .Is Dead, to allow them to do this again. I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone is not the giant gearshift that .Is Dead was away from The Troubled Stateside, but the evolution of this band, while more nuanced, is still impressive.
I suppose when you boil this down it is still a hardcore album, but it is a hardcore album with a brain, and a heart and the ability to disguise itself as something else, something that goes beyond simple genre limitations.
A feeling that I couldn't shake off when I was listening to this album (repeatedly) was that this was the album that Brand New's Daisy should have been. Crime in Stereo's progression, while musically different, has seemingly been done for the same reasons, as every album is released it is reflective of what the band wants to play, not what would be comfortable for the band to release, rehashing a previously successful formula. There is definitely the feeling that the listener is maturing with the band, and while it is always nice to revisit your teenage years, there are always bits you regret, but there is equally no point wishing to be old before your time (dangerously stretched metaphor alert). I guess what I am trying to say is that this album is not a radical departure from anything Crime in Stereo have done before, but rather another step in their musical development.
When I write my reviews, there are times when I feel I am able to write too much, and there are times when I feel I can't write enough - that's inevitable. But usually these feelings come about when thinking of a whole album. For this review I am resisting the urge to dedicate pages and pages to rave about how fantastic the song Drugwolf is. I'm usually not the type of person who can sit with a song on repeat for any length of time, I much prefer to listen to albums through, but Drugwolf deserves repeated listens to a punishing extent. After the album opener Queue Moderns a song purpose-written to begin the album (if that doesn't sound too redundant), in the sense that it would seem out of place at any other point, Drugwolf fires the album straightaway to great heights. The chorus soars, the verses ready and the middle smashes it out of the park. When I heard Kristian Hallbert exclaim: "We're better off alone together" for the first time I knew Drugwolf and me were going to be best friends. I'm a sucker for slightly nonsensical lyrics, especially when they are delivered so passionately.
The album works as a coherent whole, but other stand out's include the Nirvana-ish Not Dead and the eclectic Republica. This album is the sound of a band audibly maturing and growing as song-writers and it has resulted in a fantastic result. If anyone had any doubts before this about Crime in Stereo being one of the most original and talented bands on the punk scene then they can surely possess none now. I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone is, regardless of genre, a great album.
1. Queue Moderns
3. Exit Halo
4. Not Dead
7. Type One
9. I Am Everything I Am Not
10. Dark Island City
11. I Cannot Answer You Tonight