CD Review: AFI’s Crash Love

A Fire Inside or AFI for short, have been around for the past 18 years unleashing upon the music scene seven LPs to date with their eighth Crash Love, on the way. The deal with AFI is a simple known fact, they’ve never seem to stick out with the same sound for more than a couple of albums. Their first being Answer That and Stay Fashionable, in 1995. Then the band went on to release Very Proud of Ya, the following year, followed up by a third three years later, Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes.

Since their earlier creations, AFI has indeed, like most bands, changed their style to blend in along with the rest of the crowd, just like today’s fads, the same routines are found in music – AFI went from the stick liking’s of punk down to hardcore punk to horror punk in a matter of just a few years. In 1999’s Black Sails in the Sunset, and 2000’s The Art of Drowning, it wasn’t until their twelfth year that the band had stuck major success when it came down to Sing The Sorrow, (2003). The successful album contained well known hits including “Girl’s Not Grey” and “The Leaving Song, Pt. II,” among a few. Then, the band took a brief hiatus and returned in 2006 with Decemberunderground, which featured a break-through single “Miss Murder,” and second smash-up “Love Like Winter.” Now, their eighth achievement is on the floor, and Crash Love, isn’t all the hype that AFI has been known to establish.

Crash Love, does play to the band’s strongest points to date but goes back to blending into the modern rock n’ roll vibrations that they changed not so long ago. There are some “old school” influences found within the album such as “Medicate,” which constantly builds up that classic punk style, galloping guitar riffs with fast racing drum tactics that get your blood pumping. Guitarist Jade Puget steps it up in a major way in “OK, I feel Better Now,” showcasing his standout performance to date, starting off with a trade marking chiming chord sequence, before working into the strummed octaves and some unexpected, game-changing chord effects found within the third verse.

The other songs, make a particular marking that vocalist Davey Havok stays true to his fascination with death and self-destruction, without straying far away from those themes but encouraging them a lot more. While Crash Love, never seems to hit the lyrical highs that “Sing The Sorrow” had once struck – “Veronica Sawyer Smokes,” may just be the most out-standing tune offered, written about Winona Ryder, Havok’s vocal skills exemplified his best performance level to date. Havok sings a remarkable line in, “I saw you every time I closed my eyes, in the Hughes film I had scored, produced and starred in, in my mind.” Nevertheless, Havok’s vocal contribution makes this song work in every way possible – laying out the voices and chorus structure in the perfect combination, letting the rest of the music fall simply into place.

“Crash Love,” doesn’t demand for the listener to pay attention to everything spoken. However, when played to the same chord as their previous accomplishments, it reveals a more intricate and well-constructed album, rarely lacking any proportion of quality or anything else falling out of place.

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About the Author
Natalie Perez has been a Music/Entertainment Journalist for 7 years now having first started out with her middle and high school newspapers. She now writes for a handful of various online and print publications.

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