What Was Done : Volume I : A Decade Revisited is an anniversary album that will highlight the first ten years of music from TCC, featuring a mix of both acoustic and rearranged versions of fan and band favorites. TCC’s signature sound, which was born in Seattle and raised on the Interstate Highway System, is well suited for the acoustic treatment, and fans have responded in force, crowd-funding over 336% of WWD:V1‘s initial budget goal.
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Bringing Memories to Life| Posted November 03, 2014
The Classic Crime is a band that, for many, defined the era of moody, post-emo punk rock during the late 2000s-- a time during which the genre was riding its last vestiges of mainstream attention. Their three full length Tooth & Nail releases, Albatross, The Silver Cord and Vagabonds, exhibited the best of what that label has enabled so well for so many years: alternative musical stylings and lyrics that, though frequently faith-related, aren't afraid to candidly recap the moments that faith is more like a wrestling match than traditional worship.
After wrapping their time with Tooth & Nail, The Classic Crime adapted to the changing music industry landscape and mainstream marginalization of rock and roll by fan funding 2012's Phoenix-- an approach they utilized again on their latest release, acoustic recap project What Was Done Vol I: A Decade Revisited. Both kickstarter campaigns were wildly successful, proving that the band still has a deeply dedicated following. This project, released on Matt and Toby of Emery's BadChristian label, revisits fan favorites from the past decade of the band's career as well as adding two new tracks.
Although the concept of re-recording a sampling of "greatest hits" in a primarily acoustic format is not necessarily a new or previously unseen idea at this point, what does instantly set apart What Was Done is the unflinching approach it takes to the acoustic concept. Where many bands have begun regarding the idea loosely, casually cutting corners with electronic aids and auto tune, The Classic Crime is painstakingly dedicated to keeping each track they label accordingly acoustic in the truest sense. Frontman Matt MacDonald in particular seemingly gives himself no quarter in the area of vocal perfection, lending every vocal line he cuts an exquisitely personal, raw urgency.
This is not to say, however, that there is anything rough or unfinished about this project. Although not all bands would have the musicianship to create a piece with such a high degree of acoustic authenticity without losing its sonic appeal, The Classic Crime is on point in every area of their instrumentation and execution.
The song choices were, according to the kickstarter project's description, "some singles, some fan favorites and some deep cuts we like." The result is a tracklist more diverse than an easy "here are all our past singles" kind of selection. For example, classic Albatross single "The Coldest Heart" is revived here in a quirky acoustic arrangement that somehow manages to maintain the momentum of the original, while The Silver Cord's well known offering "Abracadavers" is overlooked (although perhaps not forever, given that this collection is titled hopefully "Volume 1").
Selections which fall into the "fan favorite" category were carefully and accurately chosen. "God and Drugs" and the more recent "Beautiful Darkside" stand beside each other in melancholy, string-infused introspection. "God and Drugs" also beautifully illustrates the way some of the harder elements of the original songs are translated here, with a whispered bridge over a muted guitar bed.
One of the stand-out tracks here is classic track "We All Look Elsewhere," a fitting selection given that the concepts in it are seemingly crucial to the thematic core of much of the band's work. This song is paced and arranged beautifully to draw attention to the vocals and the lyrics. Another strong point is "Salt in the Snow," a longtime fan favorite with aching, numb-hearted lyrics and a soaring melody well suited to the stripped back format.
The two previously unreleased tracks here begin with "Selfish," a song that has a tone similar to that of Vagabonds as it explores the nature of grief and honesty. "Where Did You Go" utilizes a chilling acoustic guitar line and searing vocals as it mourns the feeling of being left behind.
One of the best parts of this collection is the way that it so completely achieves what it sets out to do in every aspect, from genuine acoustic arranging to a solid tracklist. This displays an incredible degree of artistic integrity, and other artists considering embarking on similar projects should take note. Another strong point of this album is simply that the chill arrangements draw more attention than ever before to the songwriting. The Classic Crime has always offered incredibly rich, dynamic and poignant lyrical content, and they seem to tap into that creative well on a new level through these arrangements. The mellow format flawlessly complements the moodiness of the lyrics.
As a fan of The Classic Crime since Albatross days, I was both excited and somewhat hesitant to hope that they could do their history justice in a way that fans would find satisfying. At the very least, this fan's expectations were met and surpassed, proving to me why the band has staying power despite the industry and genre climate: when they promise, they deliver. What Was Done, Vol 1: A Decade Revisited is the perfect homage to their history, a compelling breath of life into old memories. We can only hope that Vol 2 is somewhere not too far down the road.
Song to Download Now:
"Salt in the Snow (Revisited)" (Get it on iTunes here.)