Review Summary: Sci-Fi Crimes isn't anything mind-blowing, but still has its hooks and lures.
Sometimes, we listen to music that is unpredictable, that surprises us. Some bands change their style from album to album; perhaps, one of the best examples is the Chili Peppers transitioning from "Blood Sugar Sex Magik", a funk-rock gem, to "One Hot Minute", a grunge-esque piece that sounds like it came straight from Jane's Addiction's setlist the previous night.
Why do people like music that changes? We find it captivating, to be listening to something that is unlike anything else we've heard, and to be kept on our toes. Unpredictability is fascinating.
The reason for this clarification is that Chevelle is not unpredictable. In fact, Sci-Fi Crimes just feels like the fifth installment of music they've produced over their lifetimes. The only times that surprised me were the nice changes of pace that the album underwent in some parts; "the focal point of "Fell Into Your Shoes" is a nice, catchy riff that only Chevelle could pull off, and "Highland's Apparition" completely devours the band's two previous acoustic songs, "One Lonely Visitor" and "Bend the Bracket". However, apart from these nice little deviations from the norm, the album is fairly predictable. If you can't handle this, then go elsewhere.
Don't get me wrong here- it's just how they are. People do not listen to Chevelle to hear something different; they listen to Chevelle to hear something they can bang their head to and play Halo to (at least the latter part for me, but I can assume I'm not the only one out there.). For what it's worth, this album is enjoyable. "A New Momentum"'s introduction is abrupt and off-sounding, but it works perfectly, and I can't help but head-bang in some way when I hear it. On the same page, "This Circus" has the most impressive verse I've heard from the guys in a long time. And "Roswell's Spell" touches on some musical capabilities I haven't seen in the band as of lately, with a 7/8 time signature in some parts and one enjoyable part where Pete Loeffler sings "Does anybody really know anyone?"
And the album has its dull moments, of course. "Sleep Apnea" still hasn't done anything for me; it's too redundant and non-inventive for me, at least. The double bass is nice, but sadly doesn't do enough to change my perception of the song. "Interlewd" is interesting for the band, but also seems unnecessary. It's just unfortunate that this track could have been something enjoyable, and that spot was pretty much wasted. And "This Circus" has an incredibly musically drab chorus for such a great hook in the verse; it's just a let-down.
Yet, for all of the things on the album that aren't done well, they have a tendency to be overwhelmed by the stronger moments of Sci-Fi Crimes. For what it's worth, this new installment to the band's discography is the Chevelle that we've all come to know. If you find the band's music tedious, then I would make a u-turn right here, and go elsewhere for your next purchased album. And, if you love the simple, powerful riffs that they have to offer, then this album belongs in your collection, most definitely.