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Crime & The City Solution — American Twilight (2013)

 Crime and the City Solution — American Twilight (2013)

Crime And The City Solution — American Twilight
Formed: 1977
≡  Our friend wakes from her slumber, she blinks in the sunlight and rubs her eyes. Crime smiles, all mischief and wonder. Let the excitation begin – Crime and the City Solution live again.
Origin: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Location: Berlin, Germany
Album release: March 26, 2013
Record Label: Mute
Duration:     41:07
Tracks:
01. Goddess     3:50
02. Riven Man     4:33
03. My Love Takes Me There     4:09
04. Domina     6:48
05. The Colonel (Doesn't Call Anymore)     6:31
06. Beyond Good And Evil     4:09
07. American Twilight     5:19
08. Streets Of West Memphis     5:48
CREDITS:
≡  Bronwyn Adams  Group Member, Violin, Vocals (Backgr.)
≡  Simon Bonney  Group Member, Vocals
≡  Churibina  Guest Artist, Vocals (Backgr.)
≡  Olga Colchkova  Model
≡  Brandon Cooper  Trumpet 
≡  Danielle DePicciotto  Autoharp, Cover Art, Design, GrMemb., Visuals, Vocals (Backgr.)
≡  David Eugene Edwards  Group Member, Guitar, Vocals (Backgr.)
≡  David Feeny  Engineer, Mastering, Mixing, Pedal Steel Guitar, Producer
≡  Troy Gregory  Bass, Cello, Group Member, Vocals (Backgr.)
≡  Alexander Hacke  Group Member, Guitar, Mixing, Vocals (Backgr.)
≡  Tony Hamera  Engineer
≡  Casey Rice  Engineer
≡  Matthew Smith  Group Member, Keyboards, Mixing, Vocals (Backgr.)
≡  Bradley Stern  Sax (Tenor)
≡  Jim White  Drums, Group Member
Description:
≡  After a two-decade hiatus, the legendary Crime & The City Solution are back with a new incarnation based in a new home city, Detroit, and a new album, American Twilight is here.
≡  This latest embodiment of Crime & The City Solution sees Berlin era members Simon Bonney (vocals), Bronwyn Adams (violin) and Alexander Hacke (guitar), joined by renowned visual artist Danielle de Picciotto, Jim White (drums - Dirty Three, Cat Power), David Eugene Edwards (guitar - 16 Horsepower, Wovenhand), Troy Gregory (bass - Witches) and Matthew Smith (Moog / keyboards - Outrageous Cherry, Volebeats). Crime & The City Solution have just announced a series of Australian dates, including All Tomorrow’s Parties / I’ll Be Your Mirror, curated by The Drones, in February. See below for full tour dates.
≡  Formed by Simon Bonney at the age of 16, Crime & The City Solution’s early performances in Sydney had a big impact on key figures of the early Melbourne art-punk/post punk scene. In 1984, Bad Seed Mick Harvey shipped Bonney to England to form the London based Crime with their friend the brilliant and ever influential ex-Birthday Party guitarist Rowland S Howard, his brother Harry Howard on bass and Epic Soundtracks on drums. Two years on, having toured Europe, the UK and US and released several EPs and an album, this lineup reached its zenith at its finale in a historic swansong performance in Wim Wenders’ cinematic masterpiece ‘Wings of Desire’.
≡  Bonney has said his true voice and the definitive sound he sought emerged with the next, Berlin based incarnation of Crime & The City Solution, which recorded three studio albums and a live CD between 1986 and 1991. With a more experimental sound, which drew less on Melbourne post punk scene roots and took a more explorative musical approach, this lineup was 50% Berliner and featured Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alex Hacke on guitar, ex-DAF/Liaisons Dangereuses electronic genius Chrislo Haas on vintage Korg patchbay synth, free jazz trio bassist Thomas Stern, with Australians Mick Harvey on drums and Bonney’s lyrical collaborator Bronwyn Adams on violin.
Website: http://crimeandthecitysolution.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/crimethecitysolution
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CrimeandtheCitySolution
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Review by Thom Jurek  (Editor rating: ****)
≡  Detroit was the perfect location for Crime & the City Solution to record their first album in 22 years. They couldn't have been framed by a better metaphor than setting up in a city consumed with the fight -- often against itself -- for survival. Founder, lead vocalist, and lyricist Simon Bonney is joined by longtime collaborators violinist Bronwyn Adams and guitarist Alexander Hacke. They are accompanied by drummer Jim White (Dirty Three), David Eugene Edwards (16 Horsepower, Woven Hand), visual artist Danielle DePicciotto, and Detroit natives Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry) on keyboards, and Troy Gregory (Witches, Dirtbombs) on bass. Everybody sings. Co-produced with the Motor City's Dave Feeny, American Twilight retains C&CS's trademark senses of cinematic drama and dynamics, but the sound is meatier, denser, and grimier, and Adams' violin has a much more prominent role than it has in the past (a real plus). "Riven Man" is a sonic collision of basic Detroit rock and expansive Motor City funk (courtesy of Gregory's bassline, Smith's horn sounds, and the urgent backing chorus). Bonney's deep baritone retains its authoritative power, alternately growling and plaintively singing. In "Goddess," with its charging guitars (one can hear traces of the riff from Grand Funk's "We're an American Band" crossed with the dirty-assed strut of the Stooges; the irony is no doubt intentional -- and it works), rumbling bass, and tom-toms, Bonney offers an urgent homage to the Divine Feminine; it's underscored by the entire band as a backing chorus. Bonney expresses both reverence and longing in "Domina," a spiritual waltz combining gospel hymnody, country, and wide-open, labyrinthine, rockist drones driven by Adams, White, and Hacke's slide guitars. "The Colonel (Doesn't Call Anymore)" combines C&CS's iconic, shapeshifting sense of the epic with droning, swirling blues and stormy post-psych rock. Despite its musical urgency, "My Love Takes Me There" is a testament to its subject's transcendent power. Its jagged theatrical guitars contrast beautifully with Smith's mariachi horns, and Bonney's voice articulates it all with conviction and aplomb. "Beyond Good and Evil" is Gothic country music infused with a heartbreaking tenderness. The title track's relentlessly unhinged rock & roll is framed lyrically as an admonition of warning as the threat of darkness approaches. Though Bonney poetically offers observations around the notion that "Armageddon is coming in the city of fun" and accepts it, his vocal holds an unwavering faith for the survival of those who dare to love and hope in enduring it. This makes his urgent delivery the voice of sanity in the ensuing musical maelstrom. American Twilight is more than just a triumphant comeback by C&CS -- who were not fully appreciated for their uniqueness the first time around -- it is a literate, sprawling, bruising rock & roll record that convincingly addresses the crises we face -- cultural, spiritual, integral -- and the choices we make. What could be more necessary?  (www.allmusic.com)
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Julian Marszalek , March 26th, 2013 08:57
≡  Ye gods – has it really been 23 years since Crime & The City Solution last released an album in the shape of Paradise Discotheque? It's strange to pause and think about the cultural and political events in the intervening years. It's even more depressing to surmise that, despite the inexorable and ubiquitous rise of information technology, as a collection of races, cultures and societies, the world is in a far worse state than it was when the band's Simon Bonney tackled the appalling legacy of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu back in 1990.
≡  Much like running into an old friend and continuing the conversation you left off several decades ago, Crime & The City Solution pick things up pretty much where they left them, as once again they cast a wry eye over a world that isn't so much spinning as screwing itself into a deep hole. Now relocated to the ruined environs of Detroit, a city emblematic of the economic ravages that are bringing the western world to its knees, Crime & The City Solution's sixth studio album is as much an elegy to the American Dream that's turned into a global nightmare as it is a damn fine rock & roll album.
≡  The band's Berlin-era mainstays of vocalist Simon Bonney, violinist/vocalist Bronwyn Adams and guitarist Alexander Hacke are here augmented by the considerable musical talents of The Dirty Three's Jim White on drums, Outrageous Cherry's Matthew Smith on keyboards and 16 Horsepower's David Eugene Edwards supplying guitar, while Witches' Troy Gregory holds down the bottom end on bass. Also joining the band for the ride is visual artist Danielle de Picciotto, and the end result is one of the best albums in the band's canon, as well as an excellent entry point for the novice or casual observer.
≡  Sun-baked and windswept, American Twilight is an album that draws on a mythical and actual vision of America as much as it does on the band's origins of their hometown of Melbourne, Australia. As evidenced by opener 'Goddess', this is music that embraces and utilises space, its canvas drawn in huge and righteously angry brush strokes. Survival is a constant theme throughout the album, and no more so than on the explosive title track. "Everybody wants to be number one," sneers Bonney as he surveys the economic ruin that is the 21st century and the insurmountable odds that make up everyday life. "Whole lot of birds in the sky above," he continues, "Looks like hawks and you're the dove."
≡  But there is more on offer here than an outpouring of justified anger and outrage. Crime & The City Solution know the value of pace, of light and shade, and of creating an ongoing sense of drama. Witness the double whammy of 'Domina' and 'The Colonel (Doesn't Call Anymore)' – the former building up from humble beginnings to a widescreen howl of defiance, while the latter is stark and stripped, again utilising space to create tension and almost unbearable drama.
≡  The anger contained here isn't just a rage pointed at these troubled and desperate times, but also at the years of missed opportunity that characterise the time period elapsed since Crime & The City Solution's last release. American Twilight shames the countless number of solipsistic bands too scared to confront the outside world and articulate the pain and anger suffered by millions on a daily basis, but crucially it doesn't date itself. This is an anguished howl that directs its anger at a world seemingly prepared to repeat history over and over, with an increasing degree of pain. And if that is indeed the case, then let's hope that this is the start of another fruitful chapter for this most idiosyncratic of bands. (www.thequietus.com)
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REVIEW
by Edward Sharp-Paul; Fri 19th Apr, 2013 (Editor rating: 8/10 stars)
≡  The peripatetic Crime And The City Solution have sputtered to life once again, surfacing in Detroit of all places with American Twilight. The album finds the band in stunning form, returning to their sprawling, seasick Southern Gothic post-punk template. The passing years have been good to Simon Bonney’s project: their combination of gravel, spittle and cynicism actually sounds better when tempered with a dose of world weariness. This, combined with the circumstances of its creation and the context of its release, lifts American Twilight from very good to essential.
≡  Recorded in a dying industrial city in the midst of political, cultural and economic schisms on a scarcely precedented scale, Singer/mastermind Bonney has found a perfect vantage point from which to document the tragic, beautiful decay of an America that perhaps only ever existed in the imagination. This America, the one from the brochure, has given way to a nightmarish combination of fear, superstition and cruelty.
≡  Predictably, the title track is something of a centrepiece, a catalogue of the world’s ills interspersed with exhortations to love, to dance, to overcome in any way possible. Despite being impressive, though, ‘American Twilight’ is hampered by Bonney’s slightly ham-fisted appropriation of political slogans, an issue that pops up elsewhere on the album, and stands as the album’s only real weakness.
≡  ‘Domina’, on the other hand, is a creepy, majestic highlight. Alexander Hacke’s twanging guitars, David Edwards’ lap steel and Bronwyn Adams’ sighing violin all support a chorus that’s part sea shanty, part requiem: “Oh, take what you will, take my life, soul, my will”. It’s a perfect mingling of the sacred and profane, and at these moments, the music, with its crashing, dissonant beauty, is more eloquent than Bonney and Adams’ words.
≡  As ‘Streets of West Memphis’ closes with increasingly fraught repetitions of “Here comes the rain”, it becomes clear that Bonney and Adams aren’t talking about a mere sunshower: American Twilight is masterful, the sound of a coming storm. (http://www.fasterlouder.com.au)
By Alex Snax (Editor rating: 7/10)/(http://drownedinsound.com)
By Adrian P.  (http://www.adequacy.net)
Studio albums:
≡  Room of Lights (1986)
≡  Shine (1988)
≡  The Bride Ship (1989)
≡  Paradise Discotheque (1990)
≡  American Twilight (2013)
EPs:
≡  The Dangling Man (1985)
≡  Just South of Heaven (1985)
Compilations:
≡  A History of Crime (2012)
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Members:
Sydney 1977-1978:
≡  Simon Bonney (born: 1961 in Sydney) - vocals
≡  Don McLennan - drums
≡  Harry Zantey - guitar
≡  Phil Kitchener - bass (deceased)
≡  Dave MacKinnon - soprano & tenor saxophone
Melbourne 1979:
¤ Simon Bonney - vocals
¤ Don McLennan - drums
¤ Dan Wallace-Crabbe - guitar
¤ Lindsay O'Meara - bass
¤ Chris Astley - keyboards
¤ Kim Beissel - alto saxophone
¤ Berlin/London 1985-1986:
¤ Simon Bonney - vocals
¤ Mick Harvey - guitar
¤ Rowland S. Howard - guitar (deceased)
¤ Harry Howard - bass
¤ Epic Soundtracks - drums (deceased)
Berlin 1987-1991:
Simon Bonney - vocals
Mick Harvey - drums
Bronwyn Adams - violin
Chrislo Haas - synthesizer (deceased)
Alex Hacke - guitar
Thomas Stern - bass
Detroit 2012:
Simon Bonney - vocals
Bronwyn Adams - violin
David Eugene Edwards (born: 1968 in Englewood, Colorado) - guitar
Troy Gregory (born: November 13, 1966 in Detroit, Michigan) - bass
Alexander Hacke (born: 11 October 1965 in Berlin/Neukölln) - guitar
Danielle de Picciotto (born in Washington, USA, but now lives and works in Berlin, Germany) - visuals
Matthew Smiths - keyboards/synthesizer
Jim White (born: 1962 in Clifton Hill, Melbourne, Australia, now based in Brookly, New York) - drums
Website: http://anchorandhope.com/

Crime & The City Solution — American Twilight (2013)

 

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