When it comes to The Blood Brothers, you could call me a fan boy. Everything they've released (minus Rumors Laid Waste which I won't count) keeps progressing, keeping me on my toes. With This Adultery Is Ripe, The Blood Brothers were able to release some of the most energetic music without constraining themselves to a single genre. March On Electric Children began their expansion of music, burrowing their own sound while still retaining their previous fury of an onslaught. Their third full length, Burn, Piano Island, Burn infused their previous sound with pop in a way that was amazing. Now, with Crimes, they have pushed themselves further in that pop direction. By making their sound catchier, the Blood Brothers have sacrificed a lot of the things that made the band exceptional.
Gone are the three minute bursts of screaming fuck fantasies, replaced with 50% scream/sing formulas. Johnny Whitney reinvented his vocal style for Crimes. While Whitney did sing in The Vogue (Synth driven LSD lounge music), his manner of delivering melodies is way different now. He used to have a vicodin-laid-back delivery, but here, it's laced with cocaine and baby screams. His words shoot out like a porn star cum shot and at first you are turned off by the taste of the milky fluid. Eventually you realize how sexy the cum is and it just pours down your throat, track by track. But, after listening to Crimes again and again, I realized I don't like the taste of cum, and it just became irritating. In "Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck," it sounds like he's trying to fuck your brain through your ear holes, moaning, "Love, love, love, love, love." Hearing him orgasm into the mic really makes me wonder what was done to his penis during the recording of this album. His screams are the same as before, high and controlled. There just happens to be a lot more singing and less screaming than before. Jordan Blilie does more singing on Crimes too. Unlike his singing on Burn, Piano Island, Burn, it's not as flat. There's this trembling quality to it. It's like he just fucked a prostitute and feels guilty, but at the same time, is glowing. Listening to the song "Crimes" reminds me of a monologue in a musical. It's a perfect show tune with lyrics like, "And we're just like those condom wrappers/Used up, torn up/Thrown away," lifting your jazz hands into the air. As always, Johnny and Jordan's voices compliment each other perfectly, Johnny going high and Jordan going low. While they don't mingle as much as they did before, when they do, it sounds like an eruption of shrill ecstasy.
The lyrics as a whole won't cease to amaze, but they aren't nearly as interesting as before. They are much more fragmented and not nearly as imagery oriented. While this does make them easier to follow for most people I'm sure, it just seems like the band dumbed their previous style down. Gone are the fucked up images ("bloated like a pre-teen pregnancy"), replaced with unexciting ones ("the sun hit her body like an ugly landscape.") It's not boring though, with awesome lines like, "Take me to the pit of celebrity pregnancies/I wanna wear the skin of a magazine baby/Take me to the pit of broken faces/the five o'clock news is a fucking fantasy," in "Trash Flavored Trash," you'll find your mind wandering into some awkward fields. I've always enjoyed their rhymes; it's nice how they continue to do that in their lyrics.
The musical melodies created are still unique (you'll have trouble making comparisons to other bands) but don't retain the energy of previous albums. I'd attribute this to a combination of both the recording and a move towards more catchy melodies. "Peacocks Skeleton With Crooked Feathers" showcases this transition well. While it's still wild and weird, listening to it enough gave me a headache. Well...it didn't really give me a headache, but it almost did. But then in songs like, "My First Kiss At The Public Execution," the Blood Brothers create a juxtaposition of noise and melody well. The song begins with a javelin of noise aimed at your torso created by feedback, fuzzy bass and slow/heavy hitting drums. Then a third of the way into it, you are hit with a catchy chorus that really lightens up your current mood.
Some might say The Blood Brothers sold out (OMG THEY MAKE MONEY) because of their pop movement. Some people might complain about the V2 signing. But I commend them on their ability to continue paving their own path; another Burn, Piano Island, Burn would've been boring. Crimes just happens to be built upon a Native American burial site, which doesn't result in the greatest times. Hopefully on their journey they will make it to an oasis on their next effort.