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I used to be so sure “I Could Be Anywhere in the World” was the one. I mean, who wasn’t, right? As far as stadium-ready, skyscraper-chorus bangers go it’s downright flawless, and George Petit’s trapped-animal screeches never ceded more gracefully to Dallas Green’s highschool-fantasy of a voice. I also nearly gave the spot to “Boiled Frogs”, putting aside for the moment that Crisis is borderline perfect and any song could have made it. But “Rough Hands” has its praises sung less frequently than those songs despite arguably deserving more.

First off, it’s as perfect a closer as you could ask for on Alexisonfire’s most balanced album. Unlike “Happiness by the Kilowatt”, which is basically Petit featuring on the first City and Colour song, “Rough Hands” sees the whole band getting in on the fun. Within the first few seconds, a gentle piano tinkle gives way to a brooding guitar which chugs underneath the whole song, though the keys return to accompany Green as he establishes the scene. Petit’s entrance in the second verse is a downright heartstopper – partially thanks to the lyrics which I’ll address in a minute – but once again Alexisonfire go all out on a hook with all three vocalists jostling for attention. It’s like a well-scripted and extremely yellable play: Green, our honey-throated voice of reason, desperately explains how his heart’s been sealed with rust while the gravel-and-whiskey-stained tones of Wade provide a balanced, harshly objective assessment of the situation – “two people too damaged too much to leave”. Which brings me to my main point: how this song elegantly paints a portrait of a crumbling relationship in a genre not renowned for very fair assessments.

Crisis itself is pretty unsparing in its willingness to call places and/or people the fuck out, with its ostensible concept about the Great Lakes Blizzard of 1977 which left hands swollen and cars as coffins just a window into a more personal portrait of shitty towns and shitty friends – for example an unbelievably brutal takedown of the band’s former drummer like “I guess the only thing cheap to you is your friends”. That’s why “Rough Hands” is surprising with its nuanced character writing. Green eases us in by summarising the holding pattern of leaving, relapsing and re-arguing that the couple are in – “so don’t look so surprised / I’m home, but just for tonight”. Even more shocking is that Petit is the one bringing lumps to throats, fast-forwarding through what feels like years of arguments, reconciliations and fuckups in painfully economic seconds: “one day my hands were too soft / one day she said ‘I’m tired’ / one day her clothes were on my floor / one day, empty bottles.” This from a band never famous for extensive lyrical subtlety, and lines like “if only we could heal ourselves / we wouldn’t need to be hooked up to these machines” that are straight from your weird uncle’s Facebook rant. Like masters this silly, lovable post-hardcore band brings together the themes of an entire album (the hands, crises literal and emotional, people who don’t value each other like they used to) in a song which hits with the power of a freight train and the precision of a surgical knife.





Rowan5215
02.20.19
part two a thing that I guess I am now doing? ok

Papa Universe
02.20.19
*"This Could Be Anywhere in the World"

Yes, yes, yes. Live Crisis, love Rough Hands, love TCBAitW, tough fight as to what is their best.

Slex
02.20.19
Love this series yr doing, love this band

schoonda
02.20.19
Rough Hands is undoubtely one of the best from Crisis but damn that record has some filler. Can't see how people prefer it to Watch Out! at all

furpa
02.21.19
AOF has been my favourite band for ages but I just about a year ago discovered how truly brilliant of a tune Rough Hands is. Definitely top-tier and a beautiful closer. Lovely write-up!

onionbubs
02.21.19
sick write up hell of a song/album/band

Lord(e)Po)))ts
02.21.19
This was my fav off crisis too

Rowan5215
02.21.19
thanks for the love guys glad to see appreciation for this banger

"Rough Hands is undoubtely one of the best from Crisis but damn that record has some filler. Can't see how people prefer it to Watch Out! at all"

a big part of it is the lyrical thing I mentioned in this write-up, where Crisis is just a massive massive step up from Watch Out! also I find Crisis hangs together so much better as an album - partly because of the cool concept and partly because it's just one of the perfectly sequenced albums. Watch Out's music might be more dynamic and interesting but Crisis is def the better package overall, imo

Abscurat
02.21.19
I've started reading this thinking it was Familiar Drugs review, got very confused.

schoonda
02.21.19
"a big part of it is the lyrical thing I mentioned in this write-up, where Crisis is just a massive massive step up from Watch Out!"
I guess that's where we differ a bit, good lyrics aren't nearly as effective if the music behind it is shit.


Rowan5215
02.22.19
I'd agree with that in principle of course, thankfully there's no shit music on Crisis!

schoonda
02.22.19
had a relisten today and bumped it up .5, still think we are the end you burn first are pretty average songs. Also it irks me that they have two songs titled with We Are The so close to each other.

Rowan5215
02.22.19
You Burn First is in my top 10 of this band lol

We Are the End is probably the weakest, agreed, and I still love it. also I'm 99% sure the naming thing is deliberate given that the shouting section melody from You Are the Sound reappears in End... just a thought

onionbubs
02.22.19
we are the ends chorus is too good for it to be the worst

Ocean of Noise
02.22.19
Definitely my favourite song on this album. Good stuff.

TheSupernatural
02.22.19
Yeah this is definitely one of my favorites of theirs. I still think It Was Fear of Myself That Made Me Odd is my favorite, but only because of Green's godly vocals. He takes me places

Green Baron
02.23.19
"This Could Be Anywhere in the World" is possibly in my top... 100? songs of all time? I've still got a soft spot for a lot of Watch Out! and Crisis.

onionbubs
02.23.19
dallas green baron

Rowan5215
02.23.19
I think No Transitory is my favourite on Watch Out but still coming to grips w/ that album

schoonda
02.23.19
Fear of myself and No Transitory are both incredible

butcherboy
02.23.19
good song about the perils of getting handjobs from construction workers..

onionbubs
02.24.19
no transitory is unreal yea

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