Hurt
The Crux


2.0
poor

Review

by Super Grover USER (32 Reviews)
May 2nd, 2012 | 78 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Goodnight, Goodbye

As is customary for the genre when bands reach their fourth or fifth album, J. Loren and company advertised The Crux as a return-to-roots. Goodbye to the Machine, after all, was met with lukewarm reception, and continuing the mainstream-oriented pop rock sensibilities of their 2009 release seemed a risky path to take-- albeit one most fans expected the band to take regardless. The bizarre, radio-tailored single “Numbers” and the similarly underwhelming “How We End Up Alone” did nothing to raise expectations. Surely there are only so many twitter updates along the lines of “Who’s ready to RAWK SOME FACES OFF tonight Oklahoma??” to which a man can turn a blind eye before coming to terms with the truth-- which makes The Crux all the more difficult to analyze.

In a rare twist, Hurt has essentially fulfilled their promise. Their new record is much heavier than Goodbye to the Machine. In fact, it’s heavy in all the places it should be heavy. It’s soft in the places it should be soft. Loren adds some strings where he should add some strings. And as a result, it all becomes one huge overcalculated mess.

In its defense, The Crux is razor-sharp compared to the crisp, muted production of Machine the Volumes, and quite honestly anything the band has ever put out. The newly established double-guitar assault from Paul Spatola and Michael Roberts lends a whole new dimension to tracks like opener “So When”, which erupts into one of the band’s more powerful choruses. At the other end of the spectrum, “Links & Waves” is a beautiful intermediary piece-- think “Aftermath”, or even the swirling guitars of The Rising Tide-era Sunny Day Real Estate.

The new approach, however, is much more curse than blessing. Hurt’s best tool as a band has always been their subtlety"from the slowburners of yesteryear to the mid-tempo alternative rock jams that populated their last record, everything was kept tasteful. J. Loren, after all, is the man who had a panic attack and had to be thrown in a dumpster after the production of Volume II wasn’t quite to his liking, which leads one to wonder how he ever approved this new, balls-out approach. A few songs notwithstanding, it fits the band incredibly poorly. From the meaningless, heavy meandering on more than half the tracks here to the dual-guitar smash!! solos, The Crux comes off as a blatant effort to mimic the heaviness of Volume 1, an attempt that after an adequate first few tracks promptly falls on its face.

Even Loren, whose passionate vocals have served as a welcome constant throughout his band’s history, takes a backseat here. Too often is he drowned in the wake of the guitars, or worse, delivers a mediocre performance. The album’s lyrics touch on the typical Loren subjects-- love lost and questions of faith-- but do so in a blunt, atypically basic fashion. “Links & Waves” begins with a cry of “Oh, she was wonderful!” while the potentially intriguing “Adonai,” is ruined by lines like “And though it really isn't likely that you exist at all, I'm asking most politely to the one who made it all.”

Sure, they didn’t stray further into Goodbye to the Machine territory, but in trying to avoid doing so Hurt have created easily their worst record. No matter what the band said prior to release, no one (I hope) was expecting “Rapture” part II. But by the time the poorly disguised radio rock ballad “Caught in the Rain” (complete with a mini-breakdown in the chorus, because this is heavy, remember?) hits the speakers, you wish Loren would just pick up an acoustic guitar and sing a ditty about dysfunctional families on too much medication again. It’ll appeal to heavy mainstream rock enthusiasts, but who else?

In the end, it’s really all about expectations with The Crux. If you were expecting a masterpiece, look elsewhere. If you were expecting a train wreck (guilty), you were wrong. If you were expecting a wholly unremarkable record, well, bingo.



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user ratings (61)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
MrNic1019 (3)
Decent rock album, but you won't find any house carpenters here....

goldendoc (3)
Hurt traded the violin for a second guitarist? Really?...

Oneiron (4.5)
Not quite the promised return to roots, Goodbye to the Machine's darker, angrier brother is still a ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Romulus
May 1st 2012


8447 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

andddd imagine a "--" wherever there's a diamond and you've got it

tvol
May 1st 2012


297 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Spatola hasn't been with the band in over a year, so I'm pretty sure he's not on this record. Could be wrong though.


But yeah... I miss the Volumes days so much. It's time to accept those days are never coming back. Pity.

Romulus
May 1st 2012


8447 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

mmm you're totally right thanks for the catch. unfortunately that gets chalked up in the list of things i can't edit

Acanthus
May 1st 2012


9545 Comments


In its defense, The Crux is razor-sharp compared to the crisp, muted production of Machine the Volumes, and quite honestly anything the band has ever put out.

This reads strangely to me: crisp but at the same time muted?

Digging: MO - No Mythologies To Follow

LifeAsAChipmunk
May 1st 2012


4854 Comments


'Recommended by reviewer: Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear'

Must suck.

Maniac!
May 1st 2012


26257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

no please let this be a lie

PistolPete
May 1st 2012


3650 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

a 2? Now that's just naughty

just use colons instead of "--", they work too

tvol
May 1st 2012


297 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It's definitely better than GTTM.

It's definitely not anywhere near the Volumes.

Adjust expectations accordingly.

someguest
May 1st 2012


21377 Comments


Fuck. I bought this today, but I had a feeling this would be piss poor reading through the lyric booklet. They're pretty terrible compared to Volume I and II. Either way, I'll be listening tonight and I'll have an opinion on it.

Digging: Pet Shop Boys - Please

Maniac!
May 1st 2012


26257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

since rom and I are identical, I doubt I would like this better than gttm

Romulus
May 1st 2012


8447 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i actually think this will appeal to a decent amount of fans who are into the whole heavy radio rock shindig. it's really nothing awful when you compare it to bands of that ilk but the fact remains that hurt is now in the same boat as those bands. i always considered em a notch above, even after goodbye to the machine

edit: maniac check the stream. i sincerely hope you like this more than i do: http://music.aol.com/new-releases-full-cds#/8

someguest
May 1st 2012


21377 Comments


I remember my junior and senior years in high school and hearing "Rapture" and "Falls Apart" on the radio here. I knew they were a notch above everyone before I was even into music.

Maniac!
May 1st 2012


26257 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thanks rom. hope I can stream it from my kindle

Cipieron
May 1st 2012


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this isn't... bad per se


but it's just not... what I'd expect of Hurt

iswimfast
May 1st 2012


1346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I honestly feel like you are comparing the album way too much to previous works, rather than taking it on its own. Aside from Numbers, which is still abysmal, the album really isn't a 2 by any stretch. Any other radio rock band releases this album and I feel it would receive praise. Just so happens this band had previously released the Volumes.

zxlkho
May 1st 2012


3472 Comments


Shit, I was hoping this would be good. Vol II is one of my favorite albums.

Romulus
May 1st 2012


8447 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I honestly feel like you are comparing the album way too much to previous works, rather than taking it on its own. Aside from Numbers, which is still abysmal, the album really isn't a 2 by any stretch. Any other radio rock band releases this album and I feel it would receive praise. Just so happens this band had previously released the Volumes.


this is actually a really legit point--i thought about it a bunch while writing this. i didn't have that problem with goodbye to the machine, so why should i have it with this? obviously i think the songwriting here is much worse, but it also brought me to the idea that maybe i've grown out of them a bit. i mean, i was a freshman in high school when gttm was released. the numerous ways that music is relative is ridiculous... but when it comes down to it, i really didn't enjoy this.

tiesthatbind
May 1st 2012


7380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I imagine I'll like this more than you but my expectations for this still aren't very high. I'll
probably check the stream later tonight. Good review.

ShadowRemains
May 1st 2012


21573 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this is fail

iswimfast
May 1st 2012


1346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, Rom, I can understand the whole outgrowing thing for sure. And I'd like to point out that I wasn't the neg : )



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