With giant infectious melodies and occasional dalliances with prog-math and a newfound sense of whimsy, The Classic Crime is for everybody. In their new album, "Vagabonds," the band pared down their songs to their most basic elements with electrifying results. "I'm obsessed with simple songs," explains vocalist and songwriter Matt MacDonald. "Songs that don't change a lot musically but you can feel the dynamics in the melody and rhythm when you listen."
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Surprisingly Awesome| Posted May 10, 2010
From the samples and from previous Classic Crime recordings, I knew this album would be good but I was blown away at just how good.
The Silver Cord, the band's last outing, was an incredibly big musical step forward for the band and it was well received by listeners. I expected an album slightly less good after that, and some might consider this that because it is less intense than that album. But I like it a little better.
The album is poppier without losing it's rock edge. And while the screaming vocals are not as prevalent, there are still scream-esque moments but they seem to fit well into the tapestry of the song so there is no standout scream, which makes them more tolerable.
The album opens with the upbeat "A Perfect Voice" which is a mere appetizer for the following "Cheap Shots" which is a nice rocker that picks up speed on the chorus.
The lead mainstream single, "Solar Powered Life" is an upbeat and poppy rock song that could easily find its way onto a commercial, although since it clocks in at barely over two minutes, it leaves the listener feeling a bit shortchanged by the track. It could've offered a wee bit more.
"Ford Chords," the lead Christian Rock single is arguably one of the best tracks on the album. It has an upbeat and catchy melody. This, along with the following title track, both deal with the band's love for music. Both songs are definitely destined for replay on MP3 players.
"The Happy Nihilist" is an ironic title for the song as the listener will quickly see. Musically, it's probably one of the lesser songs on the album but on an album this good, that still puts it well ahead of most of the pack.
"My Name" is the only song on the album that can be considered a real ballad. It took a bit to grow on me but now I love it. It's melody definite resonates the more you hear it.
"Everything and Nothing" and "The Count" are next. The songs continue the catchy melodies and challenging lyrics of the album but these tracks aren't particularly among the standouts, even if they are exceptionally good.
"Different Now" has a very upbeat, poppy, radio-friendly feel to it that you can't help but love.
The album closes with one of the highlights, "Broken Mess," a song about a man whose wife shamelessly cheats on him. This is destined to be the "controversial" song on the album but the song ultimately speaks of forgiveness and turns an initial disgruntled view on love into a positive and reassuring one. So the track redeems itself from the initial feeling it gives when the song starts.
Ultimately, there is little not to love about "Vagabonds." While it lacks some of the epic feel that it's predecessor had, I can't help but like it a little bit better as an overall package and I highly recommend it to those looking for some good poppy rock. It may not have a driving rock track like "Abracadavers" from The Silver Cord, but what it does have more than makes up for it.
ARTISTICALLY FUELED ALT-ROCK ON OVERDRIVE| Posted April 06, 2010
The title to The Classic Crime's latest long player implies a certain need to travel; and while the alternative rock act is no stranger to touring, the inspiration actually comes from a more missions-minded journey. Last November, the group visited Haiti to lend a helping hand with the non-profit JesusInHaitiMinistries; which, in wake of the region's devastating earthquake, brought an increased sense of reflection for the musical fellas.
The results are found amply in the lyrics on Vagabonds, though there's certainly plenty of musical evolution from an already extraordinary underground band that logged tons of face time on the Vans Warped Tour. Given the relatively brisk recording sessions (three weeks total), the album's vibe mirrors the band's live show, which is just as urgent as it is energetic. "A Perfect Voice" is an all-out guitar-charged assault where frontman Matt MacDonald may not be on exact pitch, but his passion more than makes up for the self-admitted blunder. "Four Chords" is a growling garage rocker told in a Weezer tradition (but enhanced by thicker riffs), while "The Count" entices with towering alt-rock explosions.
As for the outreach aspect of this album, some songs point listeners toward service, whether it be an overseas endeavor or in their own backyard. Of course, there are also plenty of creatively woven relationship songs that have consistently become the most relatable sing-a-longs at The Classic Crime's concerts over the years. Regardless of the direction on this disc, the Seattle-based band continues to develop on all planes, taking recent personal experiences and channeling them into its most important disc to date. -Andy Argyrakis
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from CCMMagazine.com. Click here to visit CCMMagazine.com today!
Vagabonds| Posted April 05, 2010
A lot of bands nowadays have some pretty sweet pre-order packages that include vinyls, signed posters, and other goodies. The Classic Crime didn’t offer any special packages for its third full-length release Vagabonds, instead it did something more meaningful. The band sent all the proceeds from its pre-orders to a Haiti relief effort. This makes me appreciate the release of Vagabonds all the more.
What stands out most when listening to the opening track, “A Perfect Voice” is its simplistic nature, being comprised of only two chords. Although the rest of album is filled with more complicated riffs, there is almost a pure, natural vibe to Vagabonds. The album’s vibe makes more sense when listening to the lyrics of the aforementioned track, “Four Chords,” and the title-track. In those three songs Matt MacDonald essentially vocalizes that the band will pave their own way when creating music, rejecting the trends that seem to own most other bands.
The highlights of Vagabonds are not necessarily the fiery riffs on “Solar-Powered Life” or the in-your-face lyrics on “Cheap Shots.” It’s the slow builds and contemplative moments found on songs like “Broken Mess” and “My Name,” that give Vagabonds an epic feeling. Both songs also contain spiritual overtones. “Broken Mess” starts out describing love in negative light based on a bad relationship; however, it ends with MacDonald proclaiming, “Love is a beautiful thing/She can make your heart sing/When you’re walking on broken glass.” “My Name” is very honest yet, unrelenting, “I will walk through the fire/I will not be afraid/They can take everything I have/But they can’t give me my name.”
Vagabonds is one of those albums that you have to let soak in for a while. It’s not an album likely to grab you initially, as The Silver Cord. So don’t give up on Vagabonds after the first listen, because if you do, you’ll miss out on one the best albums of 2010.
are they getting bored?| Posted June 02, 2011
this cd almost seems a little repetitive, as compared to some of their earlier stuff...
but nontheless good!
i love how they can switch from singing about singing (haha) and about smoothies, to about deep feelings and real-life problems... and the hope that they can end in.
keep rockin' guys!!!
Great| Posted August 02, 2010
It's catchy, anthemic, yet melodic, and melancholy. I would certainly rank it among the best albums of the year. That being said, something about it just doesn't have me hooked quite to the extent of The Silver Cord. However, there's still time for that to change. I would also like it to be slightly longer. Highlights include Solar Powered Life, Four Chords, The Happy Nihilist, Vagabonds, Broken Mess.
:D| Posted May 14, 2010
this is certainly the classic crime's best album yet. with the hit single "solar powered life" you'll be singing in the car and shower until your voice gives out! the lyrics, the guitar riffs and overall sound begin to replay in your head over and over after just one listen. pick up this album if you love rock n roll christian music!
Best Album they Ever Made| Posted April 18, 2010
This album is an amazing transition for TCC, and it comes with a lot of deeper content and more insightful music. The album also has a few songs that are there just to make you want to sing along, and they succeed.
This album has been on replay on my iPod for the past week, and I have yet to tire of any of the songs. "Solar Powered Life" is just cathcy and uplifting and makes you think about just how beautiful the day is outside, "Cheap Shots" is a song that makes you think as is "Broken Mess". This whole album was incredible, and probably my favorite album (next to The World is a Thorn) that has come out this year.
The Classic Crime returns| Posted April 12, 2010
The Classic Crime returns with album number 3 called Vagabonds. After listening to it, I can honestly say that this is a very good album. They have mixed their light-hearted sound from their debut album and the darker, more heavier guitar laced sound from their previous album The Silver Cord. The songs are well mixed and are all special in their own way. This could also be the most controversial of the three as one song is sung through the perspective of a nihilist. Aside from that song, this is another great album that should be a part of any rockers music collection.
And the band donated all of their pre-order proceeds to Haiti. If only other artists could do that.
Don't Miss This| Posted April 06, 2010
Where other bands fail, TCC has succeeded. They have been a refreshing addition to my music catalog. While TCC doesn't make ground breaking music, they make music that is against the grain. Raw and honest, is all I can say. They are like moss on a tree: once you let them sink in, they will grow all over you. Don't pass them by.
Vagabonds...| Posted April 03, 2010
Here we are, my most anticipated album since The Silver Cord.
TCC has quickly risen up to be one of my favorite bands I've been following them since pre-Albatross days and I must say Vagabonds is my favorite album so far.
The production style makes it sound so raw and real, it is awesome after listening to some of the over produced "clean" albums that are coming out.
You can expect some solid rock anthems as usual from The Classic Crime, Four Chords, The Count, Cheap Shots are all very solid rock songs.
Where I want to focus is on two very special songs, if you enjoyed the Seattle Sessions EP then you are gonna love them.
Broken Mess is just a ridiculously good song, I can't get enough of it, it's just so brutally honest and you can see that the writer really poured his soul into it.
My Name is the other song I want to bring to the forefront, lyrically it is so impressive, I just can't say enough about the honesty and quality of the lyrics on this album, My Name is such a reflective song about how you can see everything and be through so much, people will throw you around and treat you like garbage but keep pushing forward because they will never take who you are or change your heart.
If you love The Classic Crime or Rock music in general then this is the album for you.