By Jonathan Bradwell
Yet again, AFI have pressed their boundaries beyond all inevitability on their latest release “Crash Love”. Over the their years of intense work, recording and releasing numerous albums, AFI have stimulated the needs of many different fans with many unlike musical tastes, progressing through numerousgenres as they go.
They have touched on Pop Punk, Post Hardcore and also a blend of Screamo and general every day Hard Rock. But “Crash Love”, released with a bonus CD of sensitive B-sides, could be described as a new breed of Rock album, where the ballads never sound out of place next to the keen and more acute hasty tracks.
The first thing we notice is the vocals have changed dramatically. Slightly mirroring the old style AFI, Davey Havok resorts to his clean and charming vocals: scrapping all notions of a scream here and there, to prevent taking the smoothness of the cute edges of this album.
The album contains a number of songs that have the contemplation, love and passion to fetch a tear to the eye. Tracks such as “End Transmission” and the album finale “It Was Mine” are prevailing, perceptive and beautiful all the same, making the hooks and melodies even more addictive than the critically acclaimed “DecemberUnderground”. These songs mirror the past of AFI in terms of when “Leaving Song” was released, making them instant hits with even those just slightly au fait with AFI’s sound.
It appears AFI have focused significantly on the connotations of their songs in the lyrics, and coordinated them with trouble-free but adorable music. The swift and forceful single “Medicate” has a breath-taking and not in the minor bit disappointing intellect too it, showing that not all singles are just songs that are bound to be the most mercantile. With edgy sounds of “Cold hands”, “Medicate” is definitely not the strongest track.
AFI deserve more appreciation than they are waged, a detail palpable after mid track “Darling I Want To Destroy You”. The opening line of the chorus hollows: “I must confess I am overdressed for you, not impressed, Darling I want to destroy you”, which delivers a kind of contemporary, shadowy and sincere feel to the subject of ‘love’. With the bass and guitar working tightly together, these songs produce that must hear sound for all rock fans.
In a moment of financial downturn and political ambiguity, it is energizing to see a band hang about on the personnel level, and not get drawn into the current day cliché of being overtly anti-establishment. Countless immense albums are released every year that make us reassess the world around us, but an album on emotional self realization, of this high standard, seems to be becoming progressively more hard to come by.
This brilliantly titled release his hard to criticize. They manage to write ballads that still keep a good firm edge on where they began. With not one song that you are inclined to skip, it runs smoothly throughout. For those who have a passion for clever fret board work and tight instrumental ingredients, this is definitely an album for you. AFI have returned, bigger, better, and as full of unrefined emotion as before.
(Picture courtesy of kinkfm.com)