Review Summary: The Classic Crime put their heart into Vagabonds, and create one of the best recent pop punk albums.
Sincere and energetic music has a way of drawing people to it. It’s much more interesting to listen to a band that is passionate about their music and lyrics than one who seems to be just pumping out another album for the label. The Classic Crime fall into the former category, with Vagabonds a clear example. While they aren’t especially creative or “new,” the band plays and sings with an obvious energy and honesty that is missing from much of today’s music. A little catchiness never hurts, either.
Opening song A Perfect Voice starts the album off with a bang by expressing The Classic Crime’s message: “I may not have a perfect voice but I’ll still sing at the top of my lungs.” None of the instrumentalists especially stand out as far as skill is concerned, but they certainly aren’t boring. There are quite a few nifty guitar lines spread throughout the album. And, after all, this is pop punk. The real focus is on the lyrics and vocals. However, they do lay down a catchy, solid base for their singer to shine.
Matt MacDonald doesn’t have the typical whiny teenager voice like that of many similar bands. His voice is grittier but it still fits well with the music. He’s not very cryptic or roundabout lyrically. Instead, he gets straight to the point, but uses words in a relatable and thought-provoking way. The themes range from the love of music (“Four Chords”) to relationships (“Different Now”) to paying homage to his home city, Seattle’s, rich musical history (“Vagabonds”). MacDonald is stellar throughout, providing a multitude of hooks, catchy one-liners, and refreshingly interesting lyrics.
My only complaint with the album is that the songs begin to sound a little recycled after repeated listens. There’s not a lot of variation in sound. Still, the album is energetic, fun, and honest. Those characteristics almost always make good music. Vagabonds is no exception. The Classic Crime put their heart into this album, and produced one of the best pop punk records in recent memory. Oh, and did I mention that it is ridiculously catchy"