Blood Brothers, 'Crimes' (V2)

8
Crimes
Critical Mass
Label: V2

by Yancey Strickler

Brian Wilson's winding masterpiece SmiLE was composed as a "teenage symphony to God," but the Blood Brothers' fierce stunnerCrimes is a symphony to the real teenage god: sex.Crimes is savage punk rock that shifts and shakes like the bleachers during a homecoming orgy. It's a sound familiar to fans of early hardcore, which was all about sublimating raging hormones into macho thrashing and fist-pumping aggression. But the Blood Brothers, a young quintet from Seattle,are post-hardcore, and a product of our dabbling iPod age, which means that there's more to them than a simple one-two-fuck-you, and that they give punk machismo a good punch in the 'nads.Like their regional, musical, and ideological forebears in riotgrrrl, the Blood Brothers sing about sex like it's inextricably linked to--and poisoned by--commerce and violence, a surcharge-rife transaction between girls gone wild and boys behaving badly. And while they aren't sure who's to blame, they're looking at you, Jessica Simpson: The Top 40–baiting "Teen Heat" declares pop princesses to be "skeletons without love" and the spawn of the"Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse," while "My First Kiss at the Public Execution" calls them "cotton-candy prostitutes."

In the seductively taut title track, co-frontman Johnny Whitney rants, "We're just like those condom wrappers / Used up, torn up, thrown away." The anger behind that sentiment runs through all of Crimes--it's in Whitney and co-frontman Jordan Blilie's screaming match vocals, and in the deeply physical, often primal music behind them. The album's best song, "Peacock Skeleton With Crooked Feathers," flexes an organ riff reminiscent of ? and the Mysterians and a massive arena-rock chorus, while an exhilarating percussive thump (a racing heart? a busy right hand?) propels them ever faster. Crimes is the sound of young men converting all kinds of frustration into righteous wrath, eager to retake the streets and overthrow corporate oppression. But hegemony's a bitch;don't be shocked if the boys turn up on next year's OCsoundtrack.

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