Stripping away the glossy production and grandiose dynamics that sent their debut album Albatross soaring, Classic Crime get back to basics with the Seattle Sessions. If anything, the stripped back arrangements and rawness of the sound feeds the immediacy and intensity of Crime's music, further accentuating the drama inherent in the lyrics and Matt MacDonald's vocals. And drama washes across this set, themed around touring's heavy toll. "I'm so lost," MacDonald cries out on "Far from Home," the album's emotional denouement, as the band struggles to stay afloat under waves of homesickness. The C&W tinged "Drink in My Hand" is a romantic number intercut with road angst, with MacDonald lamenting, "I am almost nowhere, and I'm getting there fast. Bitterness spills over the heavy hitting "Wake Up (Ship Wreck)," and drips across the folky "The Test," as the band sarcastically raise a glass to "the promise of glamorous living." In which case, why bother leaving home? A question the band ask themselves on the melancholy "Seattle," whose anthemic chorus, "Rain on my hopes, rain on my soul, rain on everything I know. It feels so ludicrous the pursuit of this dream, we thought we'd be there long ago," perfectly sums up the mood of the set and band itself. But they're not the only ones far from home and fearful of the future, with the evocative "When the Time Comes" drawing veiled references to Iraq and Afghanistan. Filled with impassioned songs, each beautifully delivered, and backed by superb guitar work and strong rhythms, this sublime set is very different from Crime's electric work, but just as magnificent.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene