Going in to this album blind seems like a fun proposition for me (Handmade Birds has introduced me to a plethora of new bands this year) because discovering exciting new bands is one of my favorite activities, and let me tell you, Crooked Necks were another huge surprise that thankfully did not fly under my radar for me to regret not hearing sooner; the band (A two-piece) deliver their debut full length, Alright Is Exactly What It Isn’t, by following a strange trend that I have been noticing lately.
Alright Is Exactly What It Isn’t is another album from a formerly metal musician or musicians moving into pop music territory without losing that heavy edge nor come across as cash grab of any sort, and it may be because of these “qualities” that Crooked Necks injects something new into the bloated and overly flogged corpse of pop music. The eight songs here can be characterized by mostly quiet (with the occasionally loud moment or two) slow to mid pace tempos that function well when taking into account the jangling guitars and quiet bass (also some smatterings of ambient noise sits just under the surface in some of these compositions), but the jarring aspect of this album has to be the full on screamed vocals that slash their way through these often pretty tunes while the clean or sung vocals seem dominated by this sore thumb sticking out (though it completely works somehow); listen to “This Place Is Violent”, “Taste The Sounds” (with its almost bouncing beat), or any of the other tracks on Alright Is Exactly What It Isn’t, and you will understand exactly what I mean (though, the faintly electronic nuances to “Every Step Seems Backward” is a bit different and a nice elemental addition to their stew).
Putting my finger on Crooked Necks is a difficult proposition now even after listening to Alright Is Exactly What It Isn’t a bunch of times and that is fine by me because not everything needs an explanation; so stop your complaining and questioning, pop the album on your turntable, sit back and enjoy the album for what it is, excellent.
8.0 / 10
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Posted Dec. 13, 2004, 4:35 a.m.
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