For Fans Of
The first AFI record I ever heard was Black Sails In The Sunset and I fucking hated it so much. I’d heard some pretty amazing things about these guys so I took a chance and bought the CD blind. I took it home and put it on and thought it was the dumbest piece of shit ever, I was like “Psshhh this isn’t punk, put Diesel Boy back on”. But something made me go back and listen again, and again, and before you could say “falsetto” I was rocking a headband and painting my nails black. I’m not even kidding. Then The Art Of Drowning came out and it was pretty much the same story all over again, and so it went for every AFI release I’ve ever heard. And I’m not alone. From talking to other die hard fans it seems fairly universal- there is a genius to this band that seems to take a little acclimatization.
So out comes their latest effort, Crash Love. I was prepared this time and customarily wrote off the first three listens before I really started to form an opinion. Trouble was, it just wasn’t working for me even when I listened more, and it was making me worried. As a matter of fact it was only after going over this review before sending it that I thought maybe I should give it one more shot, because I got pretty scathing and scored the thing very low, so I went over the album again just to make sure and thank fuck I did because it’s actually really cool.
My biggest issue was, and I guess still is, that they’ve gotten rid of the epic intro track which has been a bit of an institution with these guys for a long, long time. It’s something we’ve come to expect of their releases and to do away with this element was a huge move, especially in favour of opener Torch Song which, while atmospheric, lacks balls pretty severely. Beautiful Thieves is a cool number but feels almost exactly the same as the aforementioned and loses a great deal of effect as such. Too Shy To Scream is what really hooked me in, even the first time I heard it. It’s just not trying too hard to be anything, it’s upbeat and catchy and anthemic and a huge relief because shit was starting to get stale. Veronica Sawyer Smokes is next and probably my favourite on the disc, it’s fucking weeeird and on the first few listens I figured it was just filler but trust me it’s awesome.
So, after a shady start things pick up quite significantly and once you can get a feel for the tone this is actually a fair brilliant album. And it only gets better with more repetitions; the cheesiest parts suddenly sound fitting, the most affected parts sound sincere. In fact as I’m writing this I’ve gone back to change the score about five times because I hear something I totally love. Crazy man.
Crash Love is like the pretty girl in the bar reading a book by herself. She may take a little more work than the 6’s dancing on chairs and doing shots out of their shoes, but fuck knows you’d rather her wearing your t-shirt home in the morning.
Needs a really good chance, but as with most recent AFI CDs, your patience will eventually be rewarded.
1. Torch Song
2. Beautiful Thieves
3. End Transmission
4. Too Shy To Screams
5. Veronica Sawyer Smokes
6. Okay, I Feel Better Now
8. I Am Trying Very Hard To Be Here
10. Darling, I Want To Destroy You
11. Cold Hands
12. It Was Mine