Drive Like Jehu
Yank Crime


4.5
superb

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
February 12th, 2007 | 298 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Yank Crime" is an influential album to the highest degree- intelligent, innovative, genre bending, and outdone by some of its constituents- but it's still an awesome rock record.

Let’s get a few things straight here (or rather, less crooked- Har). I am not a musician, to say my year or two of flailing around on bass wouldn’t justify me claiming that. I have no true understanding of any sort of musical theory- my reading of reviews that delve deep into it on this site notwithstanding. Hell, I really don’t even have the passion most people around here do; I love to hear music, but not to the extent I go through every nook and cranny to find the next innovative indie-grind-pop-salsa band. I’m pretty much the average guy who has a case of the Mondays.

I hope you can relate here.

Drive Like Jehu are one of the most criminally under-appreciated post-hardcore bands you’ll find (that aren‘t really post-hardcore at all). Bands like Fugazi, At the Drive-In, Refused, and Escape the Fate (kidding) always get all the glory, while Drive Like Jehu gets lumped in as “that Rockets From the Crypt side project that had even more loud guitars.” While they never reached the critical or commercial success any of those other bands accomplished, Yank Crime does at least have one thing going for it; it pretty much set up the foundations for Relationship of Command.

Okay, so that might be a slight case of hyperbole, but to say it isn’t the single biggest influence to that album on a mere listening scale would be retarded. In fact, other than maybe the Bad Brains and Cap’n Jazz, there are fewer artists who have as close of a sound to any era ATD-I work. But oh, if the boundaries only stopped there. This album spans pretty much every -core genre imaginable, in addition to showing flourishes of Slint-like post-rock and Sonic Youth style noise. It’s incredibly unique and if I had to pin down a genre for it, you could really only call it a “rock” album.

MY opening paragraph was to set this up; I really can’t explain in a musician/math-y way how this album functions. It’s like a blast of restrained energy that keeps on pulsating in and out of tempos, and occasionally almost explodes into an intense (INTENSSSSSSSE) blast of emotion. It’s accomplished due in part to the eclectic-yet-powerful drumming of Mark Trombino (AKA guy who needs to stop producing and do drum session work more often), who keeps the songs glued together while the guitars go a-wailing. Not to mention the solid playing of bassist Mike Kennedy, whose interplay with Trombino is fantastic (and on “Do You Compute?” he even gets a day to shine with an incredibly infectious line himself).

However, most of Drive Like Jehu’s appeal comes from the absolute insanity John Reis and Rick Froberg create on guitar and the “passionate” vocals. Known mainly for Rockets From the Crypt, John Reis was always a great guitarist stuck in a fairly average band. Thus, seeing him surrounded my competent musicians is a welcome sigh of relief. Along with Froberg, Reis creates some of the most intense whirlwinds of guitar noise this side of early Sonic Youth and Hot Cross. Whether it be dissonant riffing found on tracks like “Human Riffing” or the crazy what-ever-he-does in “Here Come The Rome Plows,” Reis shows he should be looked at as one of the best guitarists of 90’s alternative.

Then again, what vaguely-punkish/hardcore album would be complete without shout-y singing, and Froberg delivers that in spades. Drawing more comparisons to At the Drive-In (because, seriously, that’s the only post-hardcore band I actually listen to), the first time you hear Froberg yell “DO YOU COMPUTE?” you’ll be instantly reminded of that classic (read: I like it a lot) scream in “Arcarsenal” of “I must have read a thousand faces!” Where does all of this lead? Nowhere in particular, throughout the album Froberg delivers his lyrics with such honesty and fervor that regardless of his lyrics actually content, you can’t help but want to go to the picket line with him.

Not like he doesn’t write some funny and intelligent stuff, though. “Do You Compute?” (being probably the best song ever) has lyrics saying “fuck you if you disagree with me, do whatever you want,” quite the fitting message for most of us here at sputnik. “Super Unison” describes something along the same lines; a world of conformity and, in summation, how much it would suck. The lyrics are more about the message than the actual poetry (“you're putty now in my hands.” is pretty much the most outright witty and smart you’re going to get on this album), as the accompanying chaos brought by the band usually undertones whatever the song is actually about.

Yank Crime is a highly influential, highly kickass album by a relatively forgotten band. I wish I could more accurately justify what I felt about the album; despite the fact its bested by numerous other albums that originated from its image, it holds a certain charm that bands like The Blood Brothers just seem to be lacking. If I can find one knock against it, its that they do push song lengths a bit too often, and repeat ideas a bit too often for their own good as well. A lot of post-hardcore, post-punk, emo, and math rock owe at least something to these kings of genre-pushing badasses. The very least you could do is check out Yank Crime, and then go on to listen to something you enjoy more.

Author’s Note- I have technically reviewed the Re-release, which contains three songs in addition to the original nine: An early version of “Sinews,” and the other two being from an EP they recorded. They all contribute positively to the album.

Recommended Songs: All of them, but…
New Math
Here Come the Rome Plows
Sinews
Do You Compute



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TBrown87 (4.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I probably overrated this because I'm a faggot and "don't know what I'm talking about maaan" but whatever I like the album a lot.

lunchforthesky
February 12th 2007


1039 Comments


I really need to listen to this band, good review like alwaysThis Message Edited On 02.12.07

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i don't like this album

but i'm gay so w/e

AlienEater
February 12th 2007


716 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album rules so much

Good review.

edit: laua is way the best songThis Message Edited On 02.12.07

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really need to listen to this band, good review like always

They're 1000x better than Bayside.
i don't like this album
but i'm gay so w/e

Yeah no surprises.

This album rules so much

Pretty much. I like Luau a lot but yeah its not my fav.

The Jungler
February 12th 2007


4827 Comments


I was pretty pissed off when I searched for this on Rhapsody last week and they didn't have, even though that's hardly a surprise.
Good review, nice to see you laying off on the KFC.

lunchforthesky
February 12th 2007


1039 Comments



They're 1000x better than Bayside.


Huh, I dont like Bayside?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol I completely confused you and trustxdialect since I constantly see you two in the same reviews =/.

204409
Emeritus
February 12th 2007


3996 Comments


[quote=review]Bands like Fugazi, At the Drive-In, Refused, and Escape the Fate (kidding) always get all the glory, while Drive Like Jehu gets lumped in as “that Rockets From the Crypt side project that had even more loud guitars.” [/quote]

Are you serious? The kind of publications that love love love ATDI, Refused, and Fugazi are ones like AP, who also love to name drop Drive Like Jehu along with Quicksand and others to flesh out their interesting-post-punk/post-hardcore-bands-from-the-90s vocabulary.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't read magazines or online publications very often =/. I pretty much go off of what I read on sputnik, rym, and a few other music communtieis I frequent/troll.

204409
Emeritus
February 12th 2007


3996 Comments


You should get out more.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I try but the world scares me.

trustxdialect
February 12th 2007


1502 Comments


I like one Bayside album and everyone makes it this big thing...

sup @ getting me confused with other people?


This sounds good, okcool.

Intransit
February 12th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album is okay. In context (ie back when it was released in the 90's), it probably would have been like a classic, but now other bands just do post-hardcore better. New Math and Golden Brown rock though, and Do You Compute is pretty good too.

Good review, although I'm thinking about countering it with one of my own.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is one of the few albums where even though thats true, its still completely awesome and still relatively unique.

pixiesfanyo
February 12th 2007


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

DLJ isn't really that influential.

They rule, but as a band Fugazi had way more impact and DLJ are just kind of an off shoot of that sound.

I like the S/T way more than this too.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm not taking away from Fugazi who obviously are the kings of whatchacallit, but there are plenty of albums that seem to be spawned directly from this. I probably overstated it but w/e.
The s/t is pretty good but there are just better songs here imo.

pixiesfanyo
February 12th 2007


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Like usual your opinion is wrong.

-_-

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well at least I now think Jeromes Dream is tolerable sans vocals.
Besides nobody ever actually cares what I think they just go "ok iluvatar vote ill check em out." No harm no foul.

pixiesfanyo
February 12th 2007


1223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Dude, Jerome's Dream is the tightest shit on the planet.



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