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Released: May 13, 2014
Genre: Punk Rock, Melodic Hardcore
Label: Rise Records
Number Of Tracks: 12
In the wake of a massive delay due to a major medical emergency, Only Crime has finally released their third studio album, "Pursuance."
PursuanceFeatured review by: UG Team, on may 22, 2014 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Though perhaps not the most famous of supergroups, Only Crime was formed by Good Riddance frontman Russ Rankin in response to growing restless while the band had a dry spell in the early 2000s - Only Crime would also include guitarist Aaron Dalbec of Bane and formerly Converge, as well as former GWAR guitarist Zach Blair, and legendary hardcore drummer and producer Bill Stevenson. Having formed in 2003, during the rise of the emo subculture in the punk scene, Only Crime would do as any Fat Wreck Chords punk band would do - keep the traditional hardcore punk sound alive and thriving. With the release of their albums "To the Nines" in 2004 and "Virulence" in 2007, Only Crime was succeeding in their goal and gaining some traction, but an unfortunate wrench would be thrown in the gears of the band's momentum when Stevenson was hospitalized for a brain tumor. After a miraculous recovery, Stevenson would dive back into the music scene he so very much loves, and along with implying that his other punk band, The Descendents, would be making a new album in the future, Stevenson's return also brought forth Only Crime's long-awaited third album, "Pursuance."
While it has been seven years between "Pursuance" and their previous album, "Virulence," there isn't a significant change in Only Crime's sound; in fact, things stay pretty cardinal. The album runs quickly through 12 tracks, full of standard punk riffs and loud, unpolished singing. The overall energy on the album matches that of Only Crime's debut album, "To the Nines," and though the lead guitar lines on this album don't match in remarkability, the drum-lines exceed in being exceptionally impressive (probably due to Stevenson's newfound health and revitalization), and the bass gets to evolve into being more than status quo in songs like "Absolution," "Find Yourself Alone," "Life Was Fair" and "Bred to Fail" (though it's a minor advancement). The most notable characteristic on the album are the hardcore songs with unconventional measurements and shifts, as found in "Drowning," "No Truth in Love" and "See It Die." They grab you with an air of chaos, and it takes a couple extra listens before you feel like you can process everything that's happening in the tracks. Whether these songs come off as interesting change-ups from the by-the-book punk compositions on the album or off-kilter and unsettling moments on the album will most likely differ from person to person, but no matter what, it introduces something new to Only Crime's collection of songs. // 7
Lyrics: Though the main focus in punk lyrics will always be pointed at social issues and encouraging breaking the shackles of societal oppression, Only Crime's way of portraying that has matured - being very evocative, having a diverse vocabulary and containing some good, quotable lines (such as "what kind of fool revisits blights and contradictions when he's free?" and "and I've been so passive - more contagious than inspired" in "Contagious," and "we see despair in everything through tired eyes" in "See It Die"). In regards to punk lyrics and their innate duty to deal with social issues, Rankin's lyrics reflect the fact that a lot of time has passed - both in reference to Rankin's earlier years as a punkster and the earlier years of punk music's "rise up" messages - and that things are more far gone than before. With age comes cynicism, and Rankin's lyrics address how things are still messed up in the world but instead of containing the typical "never say die" ethos and inspiration, his lyrics portray an ever-growing darkness about how things are too broken to fix and too corrupt to save. It's a depressing take throughout, but damn it all if it isn't articulate. // 8
Overall Impression: Between Rankin's primary experience/occupation with Good Riddance and Stevenson's iconic presence and involvement throughout decades of hardcore punk music, Only Crime manages to fill in the areas where Rankin and Stevenson's more notable works are on hold. Perhaps it isn't as significant as a new Good Riddance or Descendents album, but it succeeds in keeping the hardcore punk fire burning strong, and it should hold over those that are indeed waiting for a new Good Riddance or Descendents album - so consider this a tangential prequel for what's to come. // 7