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Chevelle – “Sci-Fi Crimes” (2009) January 11, 2010

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2009, Chevelle.
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Written by Andrew Hart

If any band deserves the title of “most consistent band in hard rock,” Chevelle might win unanimously.  Lingering on the scene since “nu-metal” was still a popular phrase, the Illinois threesome has been kept no secret by rock radio.  From 2002 and onward, hits like “The Red,” “The Clincher,” “Well Enough Alone,” and “I Get It,” have brought Chevelle to the forefront of modern rock.  With their latest hit single “Jars,” Chevelle is determined to prove their longevity, and their newest album Sci-Fi Crimes may just do the trick.

Kicking off Sci-Fi Crimes with one of the biggest hooks on the album is a no-brainer, so it’s no surprise that Chevelle would start the engine with “Sleep Apnea.”  This slow-burning song starts with a steady beat and an unhurried pace as it constantly builds towards an epic climax.  As each chorus of “Sleep Apnea” passes, the track builds more and more momentum until it becomes just about the biggest standout on the album. First single “Jars” follows this trend with its hard-hitting, nonstop hook, reinforced by awesome lyrical content.  As Chevelle is well known for, “Jars” is just one of many songs that puts a lot of stock into powerful and unique lyrics.

“Mexican Sun” is sure to bring fans of harder Chevelle out in droves as well, with powerful screaming vocals setting up an intense, guitar-driven chorus.  Fans of the lighter side of Chevelle are in for a treat as well, as “Shameful Metaphors” is more than happy to demonstrate.  Oozing with radio potential, “Shameful Metaphors” carries an airy tone that simply feels more passionate than countless other songs, thanks in part to its late-song kick driven by melodic vocals side-by-side with some classic Chevelle screaming.  An even mellower slow jam is quickly uncovered in the mid-album gem “Highland’s Apparition.”  Joining a short list of acoustic Chevelle songs, “Highland’s Apparition” is a great chance for Pete Loeffler to show off his pipes in a calm manner, and the result is an empowering masterpiece sure to send chills down spines across the world.  Toss in the unique-sounding “Fell Into Your Shoes” and Sci-Fi Crimes has some of the most prominent eight tracks of 2009.

Many Chevelle fans would be quick to bring up that this band does not typically put together a first-listen masterpiece.  Like all of the band’s previous work, it will likely take a while to dig into each song completely and figure out all the nuances of Sci-Fi Crimes. Thanks in large part to the weak back-end, this album may take even longer to work its way into your brain.  Once “Highland’s Apparition” sadly concludes, the listener is left with three tracks that are barely up to par.  Throw in a poor man’s interlude (aptly-titled “Interlewd”) and Sci-Fi Crimes feels more stale than refreshing by the disc’s end.  While Chevelle can seemingly do no wrong through the first half of the album, the opposite can be said in the latter. “This Circus” is a passable closer and “A New Momentum” has the potential to grow with enough repeats, but each of the final four feels more like thrown together hodge podges of past Chevelle efforts, and thus they all come up short.  Toss in this minor gripe too, “Mexican Sun” is horribly misleading with its intro.  With those drumstick clicks and an inward breath, I swear I’m about to listen to “Well Enough Alone” every time.

Still, Chevelle has handed in another fantastic album to the kind folks who demand some good music, and fans of the band should find little reason to be disappointed here.  While not proving to be as wonderful from front to back like a few of Chevelle’s past works, Sci-Fi Crimes still has plenty to contribute to a diverse and interesting discography, and songs like “Shameful Metaphors” and “Sleep Apnea” will go down as absolute classics for this band.  With a better back end, Sci-Fi Crimes would have had album of the year potential.  As it stands, Chevelle will just have to settle for another damn fine album.

8 out of 10 – Download “Shameful Metaphors”

Chevelle is | Pete Loeffler – Vocals, Guitar | Sam Loeffler – Drums | Dean Bernardini – Bass

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