Q&A: Crime in Stereo Talk Breaking Up, Reuniting, What Cleveland Means, and the Two Types of Hardcore
2007, when Long Island-based sorta hardcore band Crime in Stereo decided to call their third record ...Is Dead, it seemed to foreshadow an event that would happen sooner or later. Any fears were pacified at the time by the band sticking to its regular touring activities and issuing another record in
2009, but it wasn't long until
the prophecy was finally fulfilled.
On August 9, 2010, a Facebook/Twitter update from the band declared, "Crime In Stereo Is Dead (2002-2010)"--a particularly cruel twisting of the knife since the phrasing implicitly remind fans of an album whose songs they wouldn't be hearing in person anymore. Shortly thereafter, band member Alex Dunne issued a lengthy, vague statement discussing the breakup, and the five-piece scheduled a handful of final appearances. The last Crime show happened on their native soil at Bergen Point Country Club in January 14, 2011.
Then, on this past October 3, using one of the same social media outlets they did last time, the group announced, "Hiatus rescinded." Along with revealing information of note (they would start making new music immediately, they missed working together, they'd play a single show in 2012, etc.), they thankfully also had the sense to acknowledge how little time they spent in the grave. "We know," they wrote. "We were 'only' broken up for two years." It was some comic book death kinda shit, but really, quite the positive if you were familiar with how their arc was going before it was halted.
Crime always excelled at cranking up the scope. 2004's Explosives and the Will to Use Them was a simple melodic hardcore record in the Lifetime/Gorilla Biscuits tradition--enjoyable but nothing ballsy. 2006's The Troubled Stateside had more fire in its belly and ambition to burn, what with the band playing with more calligraphy-like hooks/words while continuing to spit shrapnel at various hypocrites and jerkoffs. Next came the fantastically rich ...Is Dead, which sounded nothing like Explosives. This Crime savored tasty reverb, increasingly abstract lyrics sung with new range from Kristian Hallbert, drums that sounded like they could fill an entire galaxy, and the sense that higher peaks would be ahead. The even bigger I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone continued the pattern in 2009, taking more experiments with silence, distortion, and mood-changing. Before they died, they played with hardcore bands constantly and never shied away from playing their hardcore-friendly tunes but at the same time were aiming something beyond what their genre could offer. All that realized ambition made it especially frustrating that Crime rarely received attention in places and from people past their scene's regular parameters.
This Saturday, Crime in Stereo celebrate their reunion by headlining the Gramercy Theatre, bringing I Am the Avalanche and Sainthood Reps in tow. The show starts at 6 p.m. Before the pits and dog piles commence, we spoke to guitarist/vocalist/lyricist Dunne in the band's first interview since returning.