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2009 release from the Alt-Rockers, the follow up to their smash album Vena Sera (2007). Formed in 1995, the Chicago-based band has remained a staple in the Rock scene with six Top 5 Modern Rock hits under their belt, including the #1 songs "Send the Pain Below" and "Vitamin R (Leading Us Along)" as well as fan favourites, "The Red" and "The Clincher". The band is made up of Pete Loeffler (vocals, guitars), brother Sam Loeffler (drums), and brother-in-law Dean Bernardini (bass). Chevelle's 2009 album is the work of a band taking stock of itself after a strenuous decade of recording and touring.
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Top Customer Reviews
That being said, this is the first of Chevelle's records that takes a full step forward. I enjoy all four of their previous releases, but this is the most diverse and experimental record. It took a few spins for me to realize what a solid record it is as a whole. Chevelle fans who say they are disappointed with Sci-Fi Crimes were probably just looking for a consistently fast-paced, hard-hitting record, and I can't blame them - that's what Vena Sera was. But Sci-Fi Crimes features a variety of tempos, guitar parts, and vocal styles, sometimes all within one song (Shameful Metaphors). You have to listen to this record at least 5 times to really appreciate it.
After several listens, Sci-Fi Crimes may be Chevelle's best overall work to date. And this is coming from a guy who has worn out all their previous records. Pete's lyrics are more diverse than any of their previous records. One thing that may disappoint some fans is that melodic vocals are much more pervasive on this record, and there isn't much screaming. That's one of the reasons it has to grow on people, and this is coming from a hardcore fan. Chevelle is the lightest stuff I listen to, but this record is so strong that I don't miss the raspy screamed lyrics, which can be heard at a few points on the record. Lyrically, this is some of their best work as well. Meaningful, deep, and complex, but not intentionally cryptic like some bands.
And, lest people read this review and think this record doesn't hit hard, just check out the first track, Sleep Apnea, which quickly wraps itself around your head and squeezes.
Bottom line, this is vintage Chevelle with a twist - more maturity and variation, and offering a lot to the listener. That's why it requires several listens - you don't comprehend everything the first couple of times through. It's hard to describe the record - just go pick it up and enjoy.
Sleep Apnea (10/10) wraps itself around your mind and squeezes.
Mexican Sun (9/10) some great vocal parts.
Shameful Metaphors (10/10) driving guitar riffs, Pete shows off his vocal range.
Jars (8/10) is more typical Chevelle - the first single off this record, and a solid, radio-friendly track. Yes it's repetitive, but that's kind of redundant, because I said it's radio-friendly.
Fell Into Your Shoes (8/10) some of the best guitar work on the record, some fast chord progressions, but very melodic parts as well.
Letter From a Thief (9/10) starts off sounding like it's going to be a softer track, and quickly ramps up to a furious pace.
Highland's Apparition (8/10) is simply the best acoustic track Chevelle has ever written.
Roswell's Spell (8/10) It starts off pretty repetitive, and not very impressive but changes pace about just before midway through, and turns into a very solid track - the rest of the track has a completely different feel. It's this type of variation that's new for Chevelle on this record.
Interlewd - pretty pointless track, just a brief change-up and rest for the listener.
A New Momentum (9/10) - This track is more reminiscent of some of Chevelle's older tracks - I'm talking Point #1 and WWN. It sounds like it would fit in well on either of those records. Blistering guitars and vocals. Driving chorus that you can't help but sing to.
This Circus (9/10) - Changes pace, infectious chorus
With all that being said, I really like Chevelle’s “Sci-Fi Crimes”, mainly because of the balance of slow and melodic songs with heavier, harder hitting songs. I think the album in total has good variety, and is a fitting display of the trio’s talent. There’s the hard hitting opener “Sleep Apnea” followed by “Mexican Sun” where the heavy guitar riffs of Chevelle are signature. Then there’s the slow, melodic ballad “Shameful Metaphors”, a song about guilt and human failings. There’s radio-friendly “Jars” and “Letter from a Thief”, songs that are not only catchy but have memorable lyrics. “Highland’s Apparition” is a fantastic, effecting acoustic tune with haunting lyrics. Chevelle finishes with “This Circus”, which is an appropriate song to finish with. The only songs, in my opinion, that were so-so were “Fell into Your Shoes” and “A New Momentum.”
Sci-Fi Crimes has sort of a dark, ghostly feel to it at times with the lyrics, melodies and rhythm, but yet it still maintains an energetic hard edge that is so typical of Chevelle.
A great album overall.
While I do prefer their old sound (Demos / Point #1) - this is still good stuff (Like a refined "This Type Of Thinking Could Do Us In" feeling). The bass is back AND alive (Maybe the Thunderbird IV makes all the difference, haha). Lyrically - they are still sharp in associated theme and words. The only segment that was not really to much was Interlewd (Almost like an afternoon lull - Circadium Rhythem connection). A big difference I noticed with music layout was the quiet / acoustic song was placed midway, as prior albums did it at the very end (Would give that closing feeling). Start Loud -> End Loud must new new thing to expect out of Chevelle in future.
Chevelle will remain a LOUD trio with the will to push actual GOOD music on the airwaves.
Not a completely mainstream friendly band - but they sneak in a single (or two) to pop on in.
In other words, a GOOD interruption to the gunk of todays typical Bee-ESS.
Revised from 4 to 5 stars
Extra listening made this album an addiction
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great solid hard rock music, amazing vocals, hands down a great album.
I never expect any less from these guys!Read more