“City of Love” by Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene
Throbbing drums. An eruptive bassline. A lush serenade. Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene incorporate all three of these elements in the new single “City of Love” (which also serves as the title track of their latest studio album), but beneath the hypnotic components of the song’s surface charm, there lies a multifaceted composition more intriguing than most any other in this band’s discography. The Colorado-based foursome Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene have been making music together for a while now, racking up accolades for 2014’s The Other Side and their sophomore LP, Let’s Do This Thing, but in their latest release, we hear a variation of their sound that seems almost untethered to the stylistic parameters its was once beholden to in the past. This isn’t to say that they’ve abandoned their signature style; if anything, this is an evolved group that has slashed all of the fat from their music, leaving nothing but sonic muscularity of the most sterling strain behind for us to consume.
“City of Love” definitely benefits from an ace production quality, but I don’t think that this is the main reason why the track shines like a polished diamond. If we listen closely to the different elements in the song – the bass, the guitar, the drums, the vocal – and the different movements that they contribute to in various parts of the track, it’s as if we’re taking a trip back in time, witnessing the construction of modern day indie rock through little more than the texture and tonality of a string part, a drumbeat or a somber harmony from Kerry Pastine herself.
Everything in this single has a certain conceptual bend in the sense that nothing acts as pure, virginal background noise. From the hum on the bass’ finish to the mild discordance between the guitar’s pulsations and Pastine’s poetic drawl, every element is evocative, artistically relevant and sincere in tone, drawing us closer to both the narrative of the words and the emotion in them music simultaneously. To say that it’s ambitious songwriting from a band that’s never backed down from a challenge is no overstatement; to put it as simply as I can, The Crime Scene have really outdone themselves with this single.
Sophisticated in concept but just rough enough around the edges to entice the occasional indie rock fan looking for something different this winter, Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene’s “City of Love” and its parent album are two documents that I would highly encourage listeners to hear before the year has expired. 2019 has gifted us with an endless array of incredible new music, and whether it be the vaporized neon melodies of an emerging Jacksonville sound or a growing post-soul movement out of Denver that is becoming impossible for critics to dismiss, the many corners of the American underground have been pushing acts like this one into the headlines and onto our playlists without fail lately. Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene are poised to keep this momentum going into 2020, and if I were them, I would try and capitalize on what they’ve accomplished with City of Love a lot sooner than later.