Crime & the City Solution


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With the reconstituted lineup now including Alexander Hacke and his appropriately post-punk-into-blues guitar work -- which had to have attracted inevitable comparisons to his bandmate Blixa Bargeld's role with Nick Cave -- Crime & the City Solution came up with another doomy winner with Shine. Cave connections aside, the group is even more its own outfit than before, a touch less classically smooth and arranged, more rough around the edges and jagged, especially with Bonney's delivery. Occasional Cave-like groans aside, his lyrics come across as distinctly unfriendly to a usual verse/chorus structure, sounding like a spoken-word recitation sung a line at a time. "All Must Be Love," which also appears on the CD version at the end in a danker, slower, "early version," sets the atmospheric tone to begin with, Harvey's sudden, massive drum hits and Simon Bonney's vocal form the highlights of an effective band performance. Bronwyn Adams makes her presence as strong lyrically as musically, writing the words to about half the record, while also contributing her violin throughout. The three combine especially well on another track that appears twice on the CD, the anthemic "On Every Train (Grain Will Bear Grain)." The straight-up album version benefits from Mick Harvey's roiling drum work, building up the intensity slowly but surely, as Bonney and Adams interweave carefully in combination with the brisk guitar and bass work from the rest of the band. The alternate take is shorter and brighter in feel, making for an interesting alternate take. A similar sense of steady increase towards explosion colors "Steal to the Sea," which almost feels like a slow-motion apocalypse of rural country blues gone electric and headed towards damnation. There's even a bit of chugging heavy rave-up a la the MC5 with "Hunter," though the production makes vocals much more predominant than the music.

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