Published Jan 01, 2006"Jordan and I don't listen to hardcore music," says Johnny Whitney. "At all." The Blood Brothers singer/keyboardist confesses that "our influences aren't from bands that scream. We've written four records where there's screaming all the time and you just naturally want to do things different when you're writing new music." It's a rather unexpected revelation from Whitney, considering he and his co-vocalist, Jordan Billie, tore music a new one with the revolutionary theatrics and spastic noise of last year's Burn Piano Island, Burn.
And yet, as soon as the Seattle-based hardcore heroes finished touring their last record, they immediately decamped to a studio with another unique choice in producer (having previously worked with notorious nu-metal guru Ross Robinson). Working with indie rock veteran John Goodmanson (Blonde Redhead, Unwound, Sleater-Kinney), the band made their fourth album Crimes an explosive, assorted work that surpasses Burn's ambitions. "With Burn I feel like it is just this muddle of different things, whereas on Crimes, each song represents something differently stylistically," says Whitney. "I think it's more polarised. The songs that are faster and crazier are much faster and crazier. And the songs that are melodic and spaced-out are more melodic and spaced-out."
While they have kept their hardcore frame intact, previously subtle experiments with melody and instrumentation (cello, accordion, piano) have strengthened. "This is probably the most honest record that we've made in terms of just drawing off of things that we listen to. We were using our influences through the filter of being a hardcore band; with this we just let that go and did something true to ourselves."
Surprisingly, the band has already made their next move back to their early days. "We've been home for a month and written five new songs and our newer material is sounding a lot like our first record. It's a lot more screamy." Go figure.