Review Summary: The Silver Cord is a well constructed piece of work from a musically maturing band.
We all try to better ourselves. We all like to think we’re stronger, wiser, and more experienced than we were years ago. So why is it that so often we stay the same more than we would have expected? In my review of this band’s debut album, Albatross, I mentioned the departure from pop punk, both on the part of this band, and my own taste in music. And even though I’m so determined to progress, I still find myself listening to the same type of music as I did years ago. And The Classic Crime seems to share that mindset. Although much of the material on The Silver Cord explores new ground, I find it plainly obvious that these songs came from the same minds. However, I think maturity is not determined simply by genre. It’s the album I expected from the band that produced Albatross, only respectably longer, better written, and quite a bit darker.
Musically, as I mentioned, these songs are not completely different than those on Albatross. The technicality in the individual parts has increased quite a bit. The guitar parts seem to be doing pretty much the same thing as before. There seems like there’s a little more going on. But there’s still some palm-muted verses, and absurd amount of picked arpeggios in the slow songs, and loud power chords blanketing the intros and choruses. This leads to songs like “The Way That You Are” and “Salt in the Snow” sounding a lot like they belonged on Albatross.
To my surprise, there are a couple solos on this album…nothing to get too excited about, but they’re there. And the solo in “Gravedigging” isn't bad at all. Some songs have a lot more creativity in them. The time signatures in “Just a Man” shift back and forth from 5/8 to 6/8 to keep things interesting. The parts in “Abracadavers” and “Medisin” are well written, and they provide for a dark, yet profound overtone. The instrumental parts in those songs are probably my favorite on the album. But the clean guitar during the softer parts can be found on almost every song and I get very bored with that. The intros for “The Ascent” and “The Beginning” are painfully similar.
The bass parts have not changed a whole lot. They stand out more on this record than the last. Particularly on the songs that would never have appeared on Albatross. But it still falls into the background on the heavier and the more “pop” songs. I’m not usually listening to the bass, so it’s nice when it actually stands out, but that is rare. The drums also haven’t changed a lot. But they weren’t bad on the last album. The bass and drum parts stand out most on songs such as "5805," that don't have a ballad feel to them.
The vocals leave a little to be desired. They are not bad. I'd even pointed them out as being a strong point of Albatross. I just expected a lot more after hearing their acoustic EP. Matt MacDonald is a talented vocalist. I was impressed by the flexibility he showed on that disc. I liked use of falsetto and hoped to see it more on this album. I think he only uses it on “Closer Than We Think.” He can also use a lot of emotion when he wants: see “Gravediggers.” Again, the vocals aren’t bad. They’re even good…but I know they could be better.
One of the big improvement’s I’d noticed right away was the lyrics. On Albatross, their lyrics became cheesy, quite often. It was obvious they had a lot of religious influence, and it reminded me of worship music. The material they use on this album is interesting. Not a lot of bands write about these subjects in this manner. The Classic Crime addresses mortality head on, as a human. If a band talks about death, it usually becomes very…pardon me…emo. I’m bored with those bands. This album offers something new. It offers a realistic perspective through these songs. There’s a lot of personal reflection, brought on by the thought of death. My favorite song on The Silver Cord is “Medisin,” partially due to the lyrics.
“Oh no, no I'll never listen or do what I'm told
At twenty-four you'd think I'd hold my speech.
Instead I'll mix you a cocktail, some truth and some slander
and never practice what I preach.”
The lyrics reflect the darker tone in the album as well, again while maintaining the same origins. They're writing about the same subjects, just from a different perspective.
The Classic Crime matured a lot on this album. For the most part, they’re doing the same thing they were doing before, only better…or at least differently. And that gives us variety. This album had fifteen tracks on it, which is a pleasant surprise. The songs are different enough to keep things interesting during most of it, even though I usually skip the first and last tracks. As a whole, it is a very well constructed piece of work. It’s worth picking up.