Posted May 10, 2010
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
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.
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