To say that Crime In Stereo has returned from a hiatus would be an exercise in grand understatement. After a 13-year interlude that could have spelled the end for a lesser outfit, this enigmatic band resurfaces with an album that doesn’t just pick up where they left off but also progresses into a realm that sounds both fresh and astoundingly relevant.
Set for release on 27th October 2023 via Pure Noise Records, their forthcoming album “House & Trance” elicits a pause, not merely as a musical offering but as a cartography of the human condition in these deeply turbulent times.
“It’s so exhausting being a reasonable human being in 2023 in the United States of America,” laments Hallbert, the band’s vocalist. “It’s exhausting looking around and being like, ‘What’s the matter with you people?'”
Lead single “Hypernormalisation” is not a number to be casually digested—it requires reflection. The song delves into an arresting portrayal of human apathy at the doorstep of its own self-destruction, painting an eerie yet realistic tableau. On the other hand, the provocatively titled “Books Cannot Be Killed By Fire” takes an incisive stand on recent Republican efforts to rewrite history in their own palatable terms, curtailing access to the discomfiting truths of America’s past and present.
These are songs that don’t merely skim the surface but plumb the depths of the great societal questions of our times. Far from a mere aesthetic exercise, they are laden with the weight of contemporary life, from the creeping menace of fascism to the social dislocations induced by unchecked capitalism.
“We’re not moving towards the solution. We’re moving towards worse outcomes,” notes Dunne, the band’s guitarist who survived a septic infection during the album’s recording.
The hand that guided the production is the same that crafted the music, leading to an album that doesn’t just echo but extends the ethos of Crime In Stereo. Produced by band members Romnes and Cioni—who are themselves no strangers to the production scene—the album doesn’t feel like a patchwork but a seamless flow, as if the intervening decade had been but a brief intermission.
While the band vehemently addresses broader political and societal woes, they don’t shy away from personal vulnerability. Dunne’s own harrowing encounter with mortality threads through the record, manifesting in themes that oscillate between existential despair and dour realism. It lends the album a degree of somber gravitas, an emotional density that cannot be ignored.
In the final reckoning, “House & Trance” is not merely a sequel to the band’s past oeuvre but a living, breathing entity that seems to inhale the chaos of the present times and exhale it as symphonies of grim realism and guarded hope.
“Capturing it, and trying to express that condition, is what this record feels like. It’s my feeling of having bought a house and having a child and being in that classic, post-modern, middle-aged, suburban ennui,” Dunne explains.
Though born out of a tableau of despair and existential crises, “House & Trance” subtly contests the doom it portrays. Far from an obituary for a world on the brink, it stands as a testament to resilience, an emblem of the unwavering spirit that refuses to be snuffed out. It manages to scrape beauty from the rough surfaces of chaos and construct an experience that doesn’t just move the foot but stirs the soul.
In this album, Crime In Stereo challenges us, with no concession to s, to confront the world as it is—not as a neatly-packaged set of digestible issues but as a convoluted entanglement of crises, both grand and gritty. But within this confrontation lies the possibility of transcendence, and perhaps, the beginning of a dialogueplacating politenes for the redemption of our fractured world.