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4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the bottom there is only one place to look...upward. From the pit comes opportunity for new plateaus. And from a place of seeming hopelessness a chance for inspiration results, a chance to defy the odds and rise again.

Phoenix is our rebirth, frontman and songwriter Matt MacDonald reflects. Conceptually, it's about the time spent in the ashes, between death and this new life, wondering if we d ever get out. The whole process has restored our hope in the value of what we do. Our Kickstarter backers have restored our confidence that we are not alone and that there is still work to be done.

TCC has always been known for their ability to meld accessibility with experimentation. With a singular sound, they have always rested somewhere between pop/rock, emo, indie, and post-hardcore. On Phoenix, the band has honed this balance to perfection, with every element of their array of artistry on full display; Phoenix comes complete with singular instrumentation, unparalleled emotion, and uncanny melody. But the element which makes this new release soar above their catalogue is the spirit of reawakening that came as a result of partnering directly with their fans.

I think we're less afraid to do what we want this time around, MacDonald explains. We were less afraid to do things that wouldn t sound perfect live, to dream up parts that maybe we wouldn t have previously because we may have been afraid to try it. The comfort of knowing our fans have our back brought out our best efforts, and our deepest creativity. I can t stress that enough. Knowing that they are behind us, we felt completely rejuvenated and reborn.

After raising the funds necessary to deliver a record that was up to the high sonic standards of their previous efforts, TCC embarked on a journey into uncharted waters; MacDonald wore not only songwriting and vocal hats this time around, but the production hat as well. And for very good reason-this allowed the band the extra time necessary to make the record the best it could possibly be.

I had an extra two months to work on vocals and programming, which is unheard of in a normal recording situation. One of the reasons I produced the album is because I wanted to sit with the songs as the parts marinated so I could add more when I was inspired to. We couldn't have done it if we booked 4 weeks with another producer, because we would have been on a schedule and would have been saying Good enough, let s move on much more than I'd like to.

Ultimately, Phoenix is therapy; therapy for The Classic Crime, therapy for MacDonald and hopefully, therapy for all those who face a hopeless scenario in their lives. It is the medicine that many need an honest record from an honest, fearless band with genuine supporters.

Music has been a way for me to name my struggles over the past few years, and the best way for me to heal is to hear these songs done, and to know exactly what I felt when I wrote them. It's also so meaningful to know that somebody out there might feel the same way and use my words to articulate their own struggle... it's just powerful stuff. Music is a personal thing for me, so I'll always write songs, but it's also magic in a sense that it connects you on a deep level with the people who hear it. Nothing brings us together like mutual struggle.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 14, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Goomba Music
  • ASIN: B008DL47PC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,755 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Some say that The Classic Crime's previous studio effort, 'Vagabonds', was a misstep. But TCC put themselves at a disadvantage when they crafted the masterwork that is 'The Silver Cord': fans expected lightning to strike twice. It usually doesn't. What some didn't realize is that 'Vagabonds' wasn't meant to be lightning at all. It is a living and breathing creature with a life and vibe all its own.

Regardless of the worth of 'Vagabonds' in the Classic Crime cannon, after a few years, the band may have taken on that namesake: leaving their label, losing a member, and finding their career path not as hopeful as they once did. Thus the road brought them to the land of DIY with nothing to lose and a whole lot to say (if not to prove).

And now that the expectations of fans and the band's career have been "reset", TCC may get a fair shot with 'Phoenix'. And I hope they do, because it is good. Really good. If 'The Silver Cord' was indeed lightning, perhaps 'Phoenix' is the thunder. The kind of thunder that resounds for miles and miles. The answer to the lightning's flash; just as surprising. Just as potent.

'Phoenix' is an achievement because it serves as both a great standalone epic that is dark-yet-hopeful, and as an homage to the band's entire sonic career. If you enjoyed any one of the band's past albums, there is something here for you. If you're searching for your first Classic Crime experience, this is the place to start.

This album took me on a ride that had me tapping my toes, nodding my head (car-appropriate headbanging), smiling, and almost tearing up. With tracks like 'You and Me Both', 'Precipice' and 'Let Me Die' (plenty more where those came from) book-ended beautifully by the opener and closer, 'Phoenix' is in the running for The Classic Crime's greatest outing yet.

Do yourself a favor and pick this album up.
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Before you read this review, stop what you are doing and check The Classic Crime's tour dates, if they are playing a show within a day's drive of where you live, take the day off, pack up the car, and hit the road to enjoy them live, you won't regret it!

Now, onto the CD...

After completing several albums and tours, The Classic Crime got to a point of thinking that this might be the end, having finalized their partnership with Tooth and Nail records. They were getting older, working regular jobs, starting families, so maybe it was time to hang up the recording and tour boots for good? As a last ditch effort of discerning their future they decided to put together a Kickstarter campaign to see if there was any real interest from their fans in the band continuing. One month and +$80k later, they were back in business, but this time getting to call all their own shots, take their time, and produce their own CD the way they wanted it to be produced. The result is Phoenix, a band rising from the ashes of their own perceived death.

The CD is brilliant, epic, all those big words that mean "really really good!"! Unlike many other bands, The Classic Crime has refused to merely blend in with what the rest of the music industry is doing, and instead continue to have a unique sound blend that works wonderfully with their vocals and soaring sonic instrumentation.

The songs deal with finding hope (even if it's merely a sliver) in the midst of death, decaying dreams, perceived ends, and personal darkness. While that might make it sound like an "emo" type of effort, it simply doesn't carry that vibe. You find that with each track, the message of "hope and purpose will eventually prevail" continues to build, in a way that is almost like praise or worship.
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Vagabonds was a let down for me, as it seems it was for many.

Thus Phoenix, like the name implies, is a rising from where they were.

While Phoenix, in my mind doesn't touch the high quality of Classic Crime's first two major releases, it is a far better playing field from Vagabonds.

Some of their tracks become repetitive in terms of tone (and rhythm) however, and their arrangement of tracks is a clearly a mimic of The Silver Cord with an intro and outro, and so forth (hoping for a good release and sales as the aforementioned?)

Some of my favorites are "The Precipice," "Glass Houses" and "Dead Rose".

I take a star off because it doesn't seem to be an outdoing of The Silver Cord, and the lyrics aren't any different.. it doesn't have growth, but just a matching of their previous efforts.
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Let me start off by saying Classic Crime has always been one of my favorite bands, but I genuinely tried to put that bias aside to give this album a fair review. My conclusion is simple: They are my VERY favorite band now. I’ve seen them in concert 2 or 3 times (each time they were great), and have legitimate purchased copies of most of their cds (only because i haven’t gotten around to buying the others yet, not because they aren’t good). Now for the review: If you don’t have this cd, go buy it right now. No joke. First: Matt’s voice is heavenly, I swear. In my book he’s up there with Kevin Max and Reese Roper. If it was just him singing these songs, it would be worth buying. Next: keeping with the CC’s love of poetry and meaningful, more than simple songs, this cd tells a story. I don’t want to give it away, but it’s basically like listening to a very interesting novel. The songs build on one another, and makes an excellent playlist. They even have repeating themes, which was awesome, especially because it wasn’t abused. The songs have substance, they have something to sink your teeth into. Yes, Thrice did break up, but luckily Classic Crime is still as strong as ever! The only gripe I had was that I have to wait for another cd now. When Phoenix ends, it leaves you satisfied, yet still hungry for more. Like when you eat a twinky, and you’re so happy, but you’re sad that you only have the wrapper left in your hands. Luckily, you can listen to their other cds at this point. Next, it’s very catchy. Musically, it’s more impressive than anything they’ve ever done. The band flows well together, and you just hear the message so clearly. All of their cds have a different theme, and this one is so… balanced? Well said? I can’t think of how to describe it.Read more ›
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