Cincinnati’s Crime Of Passing have been one of the essential cogs in the city’s underground movement in recent times.
Over the past five years, Crime Of Passing (Andie Luman, Brad Kennedy, Chuck Walden, Dakota Carlyle and Dylan McCartney) have teased us with the odd single and demo, and on the other side of lockdown the band comes up for air with their self-titled debut long-player.
Essentially, Crime of Passing is a thick blanket of dark cold dread, imparted by a band who know their craft inside out.
It all starts with Off My Shoulder. Like a piercing echo through an underground tunnel, Off My Shoulder howls with swerving riffs and immediate melodies. It’s Crime of Passing enmeshing early Joy Division and Tinderbox-era Siouxsie and the Banshees.
It’s the bass lines that lay the groundwork for the album as everything else follows across the shadowy wastelands that Crime Of Passing look to conquer.
And conquer they do. Damrak stalks like a pariah in search of its quarry, as Luman shoehorns the words “In the city centre dust bin” into the chorus. There’s a first time for everything and here it works a treat.
As does Tender Fixation, as Crime Of Passing put punk through the wringer. Or perhaps slap it up against a brick wall with sequence of sounds that explode with sheer force.
The tone is a lot darker on Vision Talk, with the kind of post-apocalyptic clouds Total Control had mastered midway through the last decade. It showcases Crime Of Passing’s ability to keep their listeners guessing with moodscapes that follow no particular linage. The way post-punk should be, basically.
This continues on Hunting Knife: a ’80s darkwave surge of synth, wailing skronk and pounding drum machine. Meanwhile, the serrated knife assault of World on Fire sees Luman channelling her inner Kathleen Hanna, which is a gateway into Crime of Passing’s finest moment.
Starting with Midnight Underground: a sinewy post-punk blast that is delivered with rollicking majesty. Yet again, the band change the pace with closing track, Ways of Hiding – a moody float-in-the-ether number that once again leans heavy on their coldwave influences.
Clocking in at just over 27 minutes, Crime Of Passing exhibits a band giving us the best version of themselves. Not leaving anything to chance, this is a band that ply their trade stridently, and with these songs we are met with a confidence many in their position simply don’t have.
Crime Of Passing is a seriously accomplished debut from one of the bright new purveyors operating in this space.
Crime of Passing is out now via Feel It Records/Future Shock Recordings. Purchase from Bandcamp.