Dutch emo kids Malkovich return with A Criminal Record, an album that aside from a few artsy trappings is basically identical to the work of a lot of other third-string emo bands out there. (Foremost among those trappings is the fact that instead of titles, the songs are given nonsequential three-digit numbers starting with zero; this tradition started with their first self-titled release, and it can be assumed that the numbers correspond to the order in which they were written, not the order in which they're released.) Herky-jerky rockers like "017" and more effective, moodier tracks like "029" are musically appealing, but most of the songs are undermined by singer Hugo's (in the grand emo tradition, last names are shunned as somehow uncool) irritatingly mannered vocals. Even though he's working in a style of music where the preferred vocal style is overtly melodramatic, Hugo's voice becomes risible over the course of the full album; the closest comparison in sheer irritation is (shudder) Fred Durst, although to his credit, Hugo's miserable whine is at least less miserable than Durst's. Regardless, A Criminal Record is strictly for die-hard screamo fans.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason