Crime & Judy

Cogs, Gears, Wires

Written by: TL on 18/03/2009 23:53:54

I know that we regularly open reviews by acknowledging the fact that we are late, but in this case, this review is more late than what is normally the case. Not only did the album come out in February 2007, it was actually recorded all the way back in 2004! So why I hear you ask, why are we reviewing it now? A question I will pass on to Latest Flame Records who didn't send the record our way till recently, for reasons which their promo sheet attempts to explain:

While I realize that you didn't request the enclosed disc, and quite likely are unfamiliar with the band, it's our belief that this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE. ...

... Though Crime & Judy ceased to exist as of November 2004, it feels apropos to release this now, as various members are reconvening to write material as part of a new project, with goal of live performance in 2009..

I wonder if they hype all their records like that. Anyway, if Crime & Judy's "Cogs, Gears, Wires" is the greatest record ever made I'm far from convinced. It is however the album of late, about which I have had by far the most to write already before being done with my first listen. Whether or not that nominates it for its suggested title, I urge you read on to find out.

You just know that something is wrong when there are only two 'Similar Bands' on Crime & Judy's Last.fm page. And yes, their music is pretty damn weird alright. It consists mainly of three layers. In the bottom we have an ordinary rock band with guitar, bass and drums. On top of that we have two female vocalists, singing in strange hypnotic highland voices (Think The Corrs, but way high on some seriously psychedelic drugs) and then on top of that, throw in a folky violinist..!

Okay, so I realize that this hardly rivals symphonic orchestra for size, and usually this number of instruments would do little to impress me by itself, if only the arrangement would be as usual, with each taking turns at the front of the soundscape, arranged in lead and support roles in a manner that would create sensible dynamics and recognizable moods. As you might guess, this is not the case for Crime & Judy. Here every section of the band seems to be right on top of the others, layered with barely any room in between. Quite frankly, it's like listening to 3-4 songs on top of each other, (almost) ALL THE TIME, and in terms of skill, one most bow before these musicians for being able to pen compositions of such complexity, and then bow again upon realizing how they hardly stay the same for long enough for you to tell one part from the next. Math-metal move over, this is one for the quiet hours where you do nothing but listen to the music, as trying to concentrate on anything else while paying attention to this disc will most likely give you a headache.

That being said, I'm not at all sure this makes me want to honour the band with a high grade. Obviously it's a good thing that there are plenty of things going on for you to direct your attention towards, as this greatly adds the replay value of the disc. However, this demand for music is a rather technical one, and one must also take into account that most music fans also demand that the expression of a band is one with which they can identify. We all feel the need to listen to something that reflects our own thoughts and feelings, and when it comes to that need, I have a hard time seeing to whom Crime & Judy will cater. Complex indie/hippie/folk of extreme density - any takers?

Truth be told, I'm not seeing a forest of raised hands before my inner eye, and I think that for many, Crime & Judy will seem like the kind of pretentious band that has experimented for the sake of experimentation only. Some will probably even find it downright annoying to listen to - I know I did on my first listen. Since then, I'm finding myself strangely pulled towards this floaty labyrinth of sounds, but in all honesty that may just be because I have a sick desire to understand that which others don't. The bottom line is that I just don't know. It wouldn't be totally unfair of you to write this off as a totally pretentious and irrelevant waste of time, as I'm sure that's what it's going to be for the vast majority. However for those few with an affinity for the strange and no particular loyalty towards the familiar, this could be one of the most characteristic and engaging listens of the year - even if The Greatest Record Ever it is not. [2] /

8

Download: I don't think downloading a couple of songs will get the right impression across..
For The Fans Of: Truly layered and experimental music.. of the indie/folk kind.. :S
Listen: myspace.com/latestflamerecords

Release Date: 10.02.2007
Latest Flame Records

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