Alexisonfire
Old Crows / Young Cardinals


3.5
great

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
June 22nd, 2009 | 165 replies | 37,618 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Without peaks and valleys, Old Crows/Young Cardinals is a wash of mid-paced, hook-laden and relatively solid post-post-hardcore.

For all of the bickering that is sure to accompany Alexisonfire’s latest work, it’s important to note that very little has changed since the relatively well received, relatively well done Crisis. But as with many acts, nostalgia often sparks revisionism and it’s easy to forget Crisis exists when you’re still waiting for the second coming of Watch Out! (which, frankly, doesn't compare to their self-titled anyways). If you’ve gotten this far, you can probably assume that with Old Crows/Young Cardinals that is most definitely not the case.

Like Crisis, Old Crows/Young Cardinals feels tragically like an album that inputs filler around a few standouts, but like Crisis, its standouts are certainly worth noting. The disc’s opening one-two title track punch do their best at implicating the band’s past formula into their glossy new package, with “Old Crows”' shout-y, sing-song-y chorus narrowly missing out on becoming the band’s best yet. “Young Cardinals” is less immediately successful, though for the most part i's a quintessential grower. What holds the album back is, oddly enough, the fact that there's not a completely bad song on it. This holds it back because the album ends up being a hugely complacent (if consistent) sounding album where it holds a relatively steady level of quality from front to back, and the lack of peaks and valleys make it harder to keep your attention. Even with the album's supposed lows come contrasted highs. Take the dualistically awful-slash-awesome “Accept Crime”, a track whose tacky attempts at 'remember me, quote me' lyrical slogalism (we will be free, to use our bodies as we please/there’s no police between two beating hearts) threaten to ruin its otherwise energetic, raucous pace. Even at its worst the album's lows find themselves wedged throughout otherwise good songs. “The Northern”, the album’s zealously organ peppered and surprisingly groovy stand-out, might be the best song on the album, but the separation between it and the sleep-inducing (and also organ-clad) “Burial” is relatively minimal.

The more things change, the more they stay the same; though George’s voice is trashed, Wade’s fingers tired, Dallas still sounds far better than he’ll ever replicate live and Chris is still irrelevant. Old Crows/Young Cardinals may solidify the band’s transition into a more straight-laced rock band, but it does so by representing the contrast that made waves on MuchMusic and The Edge years ago. While it may not be as pronounced or explicit, Alexisonfire’s ability to dynamically blend harsher tones with sugar-sweet melodies has flipped from their inception; like Rise Against, Alexisonfire are another solid rock band rising from the ashes of a dead scene to dominate (and perhaps legitimize) the airwaves. And let’s face it, give the choice between this or Nickelback, Old Crows/Young Cardinals is far better than the average concession. Its faults are minimal, though its highs are somewhat indistinguishable. In the end, you're left with a wash of mid-paced, hook-laden and relatively solid post-post-hardcore.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
June 22nd 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This took a while, sorry. The long and short of it is I wrote a review that is 99% this one at 4am about four or five days ago when I was suffering from insomnia. Then I got really busy. Then today I decided to make a few tweaks and post it. Interesting, I know.

Gyromania
June 22nd 2009



15495 Comments


I've been suffering from insomnia for the past 2 weeks, it sucks. Amazing review though, Coke. I'm liking this more than Crisis, although I've only heard it twice now.

ToWhatEnd
June 22nd 2009



3172 Comments


Nice review. As a casual fan it sounds like I owe this one a listen.

Waior
June 22nd 2009



11451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it’s easy to forget Crisis exists when you’re still waiting for the second coming of Watch Out!


I'm not biased, I swear. Good review, didn't mention Jordan Hastings though...

Tyler
Emeritus
June 22nd 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's because he's irrelevant (moreso than Chris). I didn't even know they changed drummers after Watch Out!, so what does that tell you?

SpinLightTwo
June 22nd 2009



1030 Comments


Pretty good review.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i dunno this album is alright

Waior
June 22nd 2009



11451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I didn't even know they changed drummers after Watch Out!, so what does that tell you?


That you're not a drummer?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2009



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

but 99% of people in the world aren't drummers so

Tyler
Emeritus
June 22nd 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wrong answer waior try again

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

tells u the drumming SUX

iarescientists
June 22nd 2009



5863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i didn't know bands still used drummers

Tyler
Emeritus
June 22nd 2009



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nah that it just isn't important

gaslightanthem
June 22nd 2009



5209 Comments


r u a drummer?

rasputin
June 22nd 2009



14538 Comments


according to john hanson over sixty million people in the world are drummers

gaslightanthem
June 22nd 2009



5209 Comments


14% of those drummers would be homosexual

alachlahol
June 22nd 2009



7487 Comments


the vocals don't vibe with me do you know what i'm saying?

Acre
June 22nd 2009



847 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm picking up the signals you're putting down, brother.

And drums are for drummers.

AdamP
June 22nd 2009



33 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didn't they write "keep it on wax" about their old drummer?

Waior
June 22nd 2009



11451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't know, the drumming kept me interested in this record; perhaps the sixty million drummers in the world (ha!) can vindicate me on that?





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