Sound — 8
As soon as the piano fades in on "So When", we know that "The Crux" is undeniably a Hurt album. Most modern rock bands try to start their albums off with a heavy punch that more often than not results in a song with boring heavy riffs and crappy lyrics. Hurt transcend that stereotype with their first three albums, opening each with a song that comes in softly. "The Crux" is no different. Hurt always ease you into the record and before you know it you're listening to the final seconds of the final track. The key to Hurt's albums is that they must be experienced as a whole. Yes, there are great songs, but to Hurt an album is an album, not two or three good songs and a bunch of filler. "The Crux" is a conglomerate of all that Hurt encompasses: variation between soft and heavy guitar, striking piano, and the unmistakable violin of lead singer J. Loren Wince. This album is, much like its three predecessors, solid from front to back.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are phenomenal, as they always are with J, and so is his singing. What sets him apart from other lead men is that he can both write great lyrics and sing with more skill and passion than just about any vocalist you can name (only Mike Barnes or Myles Kennedy match J. Loren's emotion, but they aren't the sole composers of the lyrics in their respective bands). The lyrics always fit the structure of the song, with the exception of the chorus in "Caught In The Rain", the second single from the album. I am disappointed in that selection because the song is kind of boring. Certainly not up to par with the lead single, "How We End Up Alone". Lyrical highlights include the short but absolutely astonishing "Links And Waves" and the phenomenal final track, "The Seer".
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this is definitely not my favorite Hurt album, but that's hardly an insult to "The Crux". It's simply impossible to consistently live up to the monumental quality of "Volume II", and I wonder if Hurt ever will. On that note, not since "Alone With The Sea" has a song struck me as hard as "The Seer" does from this album. It involves a remarkable play on words and excellent delivery. I understand that I've only talked about J. Loren so far in this review, but Hurt has and always will be about him. It's unfortunate, because his new bandmates are in no way untalented. He simply commands your attention - to the point you forget about anything and everything else. Anyway, this is definitely a nice release from the most underrated (and probably the best) modern rock band in existence.