A Classic Return To Form
Posted March 06, 2020
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
What You Need To Know
The Classic Crime was a Tooth and Nail (music label) rock band from the 2000s that achieved a lot of success in Christian music circles, while choosing not to adopt the "Christian band" label. Despite this, the band's challenging spiritually-charged lyrics has made them a cult favorite in the industry (Their sophomore album The Silver Cord is widely viewed as one of the best records of the decade). After going independent, The Classic Crime released the critically-acclaimed Phoenix. But, 2017's How To Be Human found them courting controversy with uses of profanity. Three years and another wildly successful Kickstarter campaign later, the band is back with a new album, Patterns in the Static. Shedding the questionable language controversy, the band is no less brutally honest and challenging in their lyrics.
What It Sounds Like
The Classic Crime has developed an instantly-recognizable signature rock sound. Lead singer Matt MacDonald's vocals carry 12 tunes of different shades of The Classic Crime's past sounds, coupled with some new treats. The lead single, "Take The Moment," is the most danceable the band has ever been, while "Alien" is infectiously catchy (the latter has the album's strongest musical hook). "Cold Loud Dark," "Destroy Create," and the haunting closer, "Before I Woke Up," offer some of the album's hardest moments that call back to The Silver Cord. Other laid-back numbers also evoke the band's most lauded offering, such as the nostalgic yearning of "Summer of '92." But, other albums receive nods as well, including a rather explicit callback to Vagabonds' "Cheap Shots."
The Classic Crime always challenge genre expectations. While always identifiably rock, they slide between acoustic ballad, energetic pop, and face-melting rock, sometimes in the same song, with effortless freedom many bands dream of. While The Classic Crime's last offering felt a bit stilted compared to their better works, Patterns in the Static is definitely up there in terms of quality.
With the band's dabbling in profanity in the rearview, their profound lyrics can, again, come to the forefront. The album's themes of nostalgia and time are front in center in many tracks. "Highlights" and "Summer of '92" look back on the past with joyful nostalgia, while "The Outside," the title track, and "Destroy Create" take a look at the darknesses in people's lives and hearts. "Before I Woke Up" talks about the devil and God battling for the singer's soul. But, through it all, there's a desire for belonging.
The Classic Crime doesn't come with the easy answers that might be found on Christian radio. But, their honesty presents a lot of spiritual meat for listeners to chew on. "Take the Moment" encourages the listener to share the love in their hearts with others, while "Highlights" reminds listeners to appreciate the smaller things in life. These positive encouragements offer a counterbalance to the darker introspection of other tracks. Through it all, Patterns in the Static is an album about the passage of time and looking inward. And, with fewer songs in the Christian market willing to challenge the listener, this is most welcome.
Patterns in the Static manages to be both relevant and nostalgic, thought-provoking and engaging, and serious and fun. Those disillusioned by the band's dabbling with profanity should still feel good to give this latest album their attention.
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