Album Review
Crime In Stereo - Is Dead Album Cover

Crime In Stereo - Is Dead

Reviewed by
Crime In StereoIs Dead
Record Label: Bridge 9 Records
Release Date: October 23, 2007
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
As a race, we like consistency. There’s a long-winded, wordy premise called “Balance Theory” that describes this. Basically, the theory says most humans would rather have everything stay the same than constantly change. Per usual, there are exceptions to the rule; we call them thrill seekers or daredevils. But these people are few and far between, and despite what you tell yourself as you put your gauges in every morning, you are not one of these people. Music fans, especially, like consistency. Crime In Stereo, in perhaps the most "punk" move of the year, have essentially created an album full of “F**k You’s” aimed at those looking for the same ol' same ol'. Some people are going to be mad, some are going to rejoice, and others will (incorrectly) hail Is Dead as a revolution. In all likelihood, though, Is Dead will be a testament to those with open minds.

A few songs from Is Dead trickled into our greedy little hands, and people were genuinely shocked at what they were hearing. And yes, there is plenty of genre-bouncing throughout. “Almost Ghostless/Above The Gathering Ocean” could be an alternative radio hit if it was longer on hooks and shorter on oddball electronics. “Orbiter” creeps along while Kristian Hallbert, sounding positively shattered, forcefully whispers, “How could you do that to me?” The song’s punctuation comes in a flurry of pitchy guitar, making this a haunting (and successful) attempt at mellow rock. Somehow Crime In Stereo dodge all missteps associated with “progressing” or “pushing” one's sound.

If you’ve somehow made it through Is Dead without noticing any huge departures (just go with me on this one), your epiphany will arrive during “Unfortunate Tourists.” Its slathering of industrial gloop and jumbled layers will have pretty much everyone scratching their heads, but it will also throw dated stereotypes and preconceived notions about hardcore rabble-rousers out the window. Crime In Stereo have evolved into something more. Maybe it is hardcore, maybe it isn’t - Who am I to say? This song, however, is a masterpiece (wow).

Maybe they should have named this record Is Nearly Dead. “XXXX (The First 1000 Years Of Solitude)” and “Animal Pharm” pump through with grimy guitar effects and lively tempos. CIS have fully realized the sound sought after on tracks like "Gravity/Grace" and "Slow Math." Hallbert still has some of the best melodic hardcore chops in the business. His voice hits multiple falsettos(?!), dirty yells and melodies with ease. “…But You Are Vast” begins under the stars, free-flowing and impressive. Then, Alex Dunne and Gary Cioni’s intensely fast riffs move the song back inside to an overcrowded venue. Their ability to change and adapt to the varied song structures on Is Dead is the true highlight. Pedal effects, delays and intimate walls of sound become commonplace (check out “Vicious Teeth” and follow how many forms the song takes). “Nixon” firmly plants itself in the soil that gave The Troubled Stateside life, but the placement on Is Dead is – excuse me for this – dead on. The song becomes a bridge (9, Doh!) between the heavier first-half and more experimental second-half.

I very quickly became enamored with Is Dead. The chances taken here are huge for a former (*gasp*) hardcore band. Crime In Stereo’s movement towards catchier tracks, complicated arrangements and widespread appeal should land them much success. So what if it wasn’t what people were expecting. Crime In Stereo explored new ground and are ready to share their treasures with the world. I’ll be first in line at the exhibit.

Recommended If You Like: Brand New (schwing!), Jawbreaker, "Tim said this was a gender-bender party...," Lifetime, "Oh, uhh, hey Jasmine. (I'm going to murder Tim.)"

Has anyone seen my Ambitions tall-tee? It's baby blue.www.myspace.com/crimeinstereo
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 37
02:40 AM on 10/16/07
Registered User
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lilRIPsta's Avatar
saw them open for Glassjaw and wasnt that impressed, but this review made me oddly excited about hearing this cd
06:08 AM on 10/16/07
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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Drew Beringer's Avatar
Great review Blakester.
08:46 AM on 10/16/07
Tear the scene down, start over.
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brokenwings's Avatar
i really like the songs on myspace. and this review has really made me want to listen to the entire album. i'm kinda sick of hardcore bands that all sound the same. so it's great that these guys have decided not to stick to the boundaries of the genre
10:04 AM on 10/16/07
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whyte39's Avatar
have never listened to this band...this review has me looking for the cd when i hit up the record store in a few minutes

edit: next week
10:32 AM on 10/16/07
joshy hizzle
Rocky Top
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joshy hizzle's Avatar
I've never listened to these guys but this review really made me want to check them out. Should I give them a listen?
10:35 AM on 10/16/07
Blake Solomon
every outcome's such a comedown
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Blake Solomon's Avatar
I've never listened to these guys but this review really made me want to check them out. Should I give them a listen?

for sure, dude. Hit up their myspace. I would say start with "Vicious Teeth," if it's still on there.
11:05 AM on 10/16/07
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llmp's Avatar
This is one of those bands that I really feel that I should like, but never can get into no matter how many listens I give them (Lifetime being another).

That said, I'll give this cd a shot...mostly because of the review.
11:31 AM on 10/16/07
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h8redsoul's Avatar
this band has always been amazing
have fun kicking yourself for sleeping on this band for so long
11:34 AM on 10/16/07
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h8redsoul's Avatar
dont wait for this album to come out if you have never listened to them... go out and buy Troubled Stateside .... killer album, flawless
11:38 AM on 10/16/07
Chris Immunity
Immunity Clothing
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this album is flawless, its so awesome to see a band like this take that really unexpected departure and pull it off.
12:04 PM on 10/16/07
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HoboAdam's Avatar
troubled stateside is a master piece, i would start there or contract ep if you like more hardcore music, but this album is great if your a fan of music
01:02 PM on 10/16/07
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Had this album for a few weeks now. Obviously it's decidedly different from The Troubled Stateside, but it's still amazing in its own right.
01:53 PM on 10/16/07
through being cool
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screamoutmyname's Avatar
i like this CD alot, but i think my favorite is still 'the troubled stateside'

but who knows, this one may grow on me more and more
02:37 PM on 10/16/07
Steve Van Tine
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michael17's Avatar
awesome, i loved the troubled stateside... hope this is just as good

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