The Classic Crime
Vagabonds


2.5
average

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
April 4th, 2010 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Spectacularly uninteresting.

Seemingly to explain the inherent blandness of Vagabonds, The Classic Crime vocalist Matt MacDonald said the following: ”I’m obsessed with simple songs - songs that don’t change a lot musically but you can feel the dynamics in the melody and rhythm when you listen.” This statement, at the very least, explains why The Classic Crime have mistaken lazy composition for good songwriting but it unfortunately does not excuse the incredibly boring collection of songs we now know as Vagabonds. The problem with Vagabonds, however, is not its ‘simplicity’, it’s the lack of charm and memorability. In the past, it’s been made more than obvious that the band is fully capable of writing fantastic, simplistic and even aggressive songs within their pop-punk niche (see ‘Abracadavers’ or ‘God and Drugs’ of off The Silver Cord) but for some undisclosed reason, The Classic Crime decided to omit said aggression and catchiness for Vagabonds. As it seems, Matt MacDonald needs the difference between “simple songs” and “really ***ing boring songs” described to him in great detail before he and his band try and release another dishwater album.

Contradictorily enough, Vagabonds ends up boasting the band’s best track yet in ‘Solar Powered Life’. Clocking in just over two minutes, the song bounces along in a classic rock shuffle that is immediately unlike anything the band has tried before, but instantly more memorable and catchy in its youthful naivety and its deliberately repetitive chorus hook: ”My, oh my, what a beautiful day outside!”. Carrying on the tradition of tolerability, ‘The Happy Nihilist’ and ‘The Count’ are perhaps the only other two songs that are obvious winners. ‘The Count’ would sound completely at home on The Silver Cord with its schizophrenic time signatures, tremolo guitar effects, and spectacular dynamic. The song balances spacey verses, rhythmic pre-choruses and soaring 5/4 choruses in vain of ‘I’m Just a Man’ without ever losing its zeal or over-welcoming its stay. ‘The Happy Nihilist’ is nearly as successful (despite having a terribly out-of-place prechorus in the first half of the song) with its Thrice/The Dear Hunter-esque introduction and its surprisingly daring instrumental work.

Beyond those three songs, unfortunately, there is little more to love or laud on Vagabonds. MacDonald’s typically individualistic lyrics range from acceptably dramatic (”I made my bed in the liar’s den and walked in dead man’s shoes”) to insipidly outlandish (”The beard on my face has gotten thicker to protect me from the storms that come my way”) and it certainly doesn’t help that MacDonald has gotten into the habit of trying to cram way too many words into any given line in his songs. Somehow, his voice has gotten less and less interesting along the way as well - gone is the spectacular aggression shown on ‘Abracadavers’ and in its place has arrived the cheesy, polysyllabic Relient K-like blabbering that goes on during ‘Different Now’. It doesn’t help that the bands guitarists have adopted an even less remarkable playing style; fleshing up the sound of each and every song with monotonous power chords and the occasional, poorly done faux-solo.

The worst part of the entire ordeal is the fact that The Classic Crime have, in the past, made awesome music. Casual experimentation amongst stunning vocal delivery and effectively simplistic composition decorated The Silver Cord (and to a lesser extent, Albatross) but the band’s recent infatuation with mundanity has caused them to create Vagabonds. MacDonald and crew need to learn that they can’t tread the waters of mediocrity forever, as their own blandness could very well asphyxiate them and their listeners were they to release another album in vain of Vagabonds. However, hope is not lost, as The Silver Cord remains a beacon of potential in the band’s discography. We will be ready for your fourth album, The Classic Crime, and you bet your bottom dollar we’ll be expecting something better than Vagabonds.



Recent reviews by this author
Anberlin LowbornThe Oh Hellos Through The Deep, Dark Valley
Dan Mangan Oh FortuneThe Decemberists Long Live the King
The Reign Of Kindo Rhythm, Chord & MelodyAntoine Dufour Convergences
user ratings (79)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
Andrew Jarnagin (4)
The Classic Crime put their heart into Vagabonds, and create one of the best recent pop punk albums....

Alex Trinkner CONTRIBUTOR (2.5)
The Classic Crime create an inoffensive, repetitive album sure to get some radio play...


Comments:Add a Comment 
BrahTheSunGod
April 4th 2010


1279 Comments


Good review.
You're dead on about it needing more agressiveness, I feel like that's where they really shine.

Waior
April 4th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I know. I want another song like 'Medisin.' And thanks!

Ire
April 4th 2010


41829 Comments


Wayr

Waior
April 4th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

sup synyster

Ire
April 4th 2010


41829 Comments


omg he knows my name

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 4th 2010


16089 Comments


better than that othet trinket

Waior
April 4th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

i don't understand you ever

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 4th 2010


16089 Comments


I see you did not keep very many john hansonisms in this review. how unfortunate =(

MentalityOfA
April 4th 2010


1213 Comments


Didn't care for their last album. How does it compare to this?


Waior
April 4th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

it's the season for srs waior but don't worry i will plagiarize your colloquial style once again

Didn't care for their last album. How does it compare to this?


This is like five notches worse than their last album. Stay far away if you didn't like that one.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
April 4th 2010


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review as always Caleb... (you have 'cook' instead of 'hook' in the 2nd para).

You sound disappointed & from what you write, so you should be. What's your thoughts behind why they went this way? Is it too simple to suggest that they're trying to woo some mainstream rock fans?

Waior
April 4th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

"Four Chords" sums up the band's ethos (also expressed with the album title): it's not about needing money or material things to be happy, it's about playing music. "That's what we were put here to do," MacDonald says matter-of-factly.


Taken from the band's Myspace. One of the key lines on the song 'Four Chords' (which is unfortunately also bland) is "even if I die tomorrow, these four chords will keep me living on." When you pair that with MacDonald's apparent obsession with "simple songs" (their Myspace also specifically boasts the fact that 'A Perfect Voice' only has two chords), the stylistic transition seems to make sense. The unfortunate thing, as I mentioned, is not that they wanted to make simpler music (the music they were making was simple before), it's just that they forgot to make music with relative substance or consistency.

But I'm just giving them the benefit of the doubt. Who wouldn't want to woo mainstream rock fans anyways?

BrahTheSunGod
April 4th 2010


1279 Comments


Argh so true. My three favorite parts of The Silver Cord:
"Abracadavers" from the prechorus (complicated synth run and palm muting awesomeness) through the chorus.
The 5/4 part (wooo complex time signatures!) in "Just a Man"
and the last chorus after the solo in "Medisin" with the fast epic pull-off riff over the already epic chorus.

All complex.
All guitar-driven.
NONE OF THAT on here.

atrink
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2010


2845 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Ha we picked like the same songs as highlights.

But great review as usual. Pos'd



ebay
April 4th 2010


501 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

saw this coming. i feel like "the silver chord" was the starting point in their path to mediocrity. it's too bad because i still think "albatross" is a great album and they will never allow themselves to go back to what made them popular and actually interesting to listen to.

loseit13
April 7th 2010


226 Comments


Got to half way and it just bored the hell out of me.

ArmorForMusic
April 9th 2010


42 Comments


I listened to it yesterday (I'm a huge fan of the first 2 albums) it was so incredibly underwhelming. Just boring.

CushMG15
April 13th 2010


1803 Comments


I listened to this and Happy Nihilist and the title track are the only ones that really caught me. And after initially being really annoyed by the main guitar line in the latter...I've come to really like that song. The chorus is pretty great, I think.

Waior
April 13th 2010


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

The Happy Nihilist is awesome a really great song.

CushMG15
April 13th 2010


1803 Comments


Yeah, I listened to this at the gym again tonight, and I defintely really dig the title track. The way that Happy Nihilist builds is pretty awesome. Those really are the only two that I genuinely liked. I give it one more shot, but yeah...

On a better note, good review! and I obtained The Silver Cord a short while ago and look forward to listening to sometime soon.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy