March 13, 2004

Crime in Choir "The Hoop"

I like kaleidoscopes. I like putting them up to the light and turning them over and over and over again. It's actually quite relaxing. As a kid, I used to love them, because the colors and the shapes really made my little mind just get to thinking about things. I recommend them if you've got kids--they encourage creativity in a most subtle way. Put a kid with a kaleidoscope, and the next word you'll hear is most likely gonna be 'wow!'

Crime In Choir have inspired me to officially create a new genre of music: kaleidoscope rock. Their new album, The Hoop, is a lot like a kaleidoscope. On the surface, they make standard instrumental rock; their promotional materials suggest prog, but I'm not happy with that, because that's too limiting of a term. Instead of sticking to one particular style, Crime in Choir have turned in a record that changes style and tempo with each successive song. Like a kaleidoscope, the basic styles are the same throughout, but each song turns into something new. One minute you've got a fast-paced beat going, and then it turns mellow. You'll get straightforward synth riffs that give way to slow, swirling guitars. But don't worry, they don't get too crazy;

I listened to this record at 2 AM not too long ago, thinking that it was going to mellow me out and help me get to sleep. Wrong! The Hoop actually got my blood pulsing; the driving riffs of "Strong Beautiful Suspcioous Horse" and "Hot Slant" hyped me up when I shoulda been resting. At times the music sounds as if it should be the soundtrack to a roadtrip (such as the driving "The Hoop" and "Night Bandits," but then it will sound as if it would be perfectly suited for a mellow hangout session with friends, such as on the lovely "Vene Qua". Though it's a brief record--barely cracking the thirty minute mark--it's certainly one that's a surprisingly long listen; it ends as it begins but it begs for repeat listens.

The Hoop is a pleasant, enjoyable and surprisingly mellow record; it's simple in its approach and not too complicated in its execution. I know that I've enjoyed the surprising twists and turns and time-changes that they take; I'm certainly chilled out, and that's proof enough for me to say that they've made a great record. A surprising little jewel of a record that will have you saying 'wow!' with each listen. Please put your hands together for the new kings of the kaleidoscope rock scene!

--Joseph Kyle

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