Turn to Crime: Can’t Love

Music Reviews
Turn to Crime: Can’t Love

When Brooklyn-based power trio Awesome Color broke up in 2010, frontman Derek Stanton moved home to Michigan and started working on a solo, ambient noise project. Although he wrote and recorded much of Can’t Love on his own, he turned to friends Ian Saylor and Dorian Foerg as the project evolved into a trio. The result is Turn to Crime’s debut record—a seven-track collection of experimental garage rock that hisses and squeals for almost 40 minutes.

In a way, Can’t Love is almost a concept album, in that three tracks with similar titles frame the record’s assorted innards. The opening feedback-ridden “I” serves as a precursor to “Can’t Love,” whereas the double-negative last track is bequeathed a conflicted title of “I Can’t Not Love.” Although thematically similar, “Can’t Love” and “I Can’t Not Love” differ wildly in musical construction. The title track places emphasis on Stanton’s lyrics and melody, mimicking a Sonic Youth-like guitar line. Conversely, the completely instrumental closer is a 10-and-a-half-minute racket that at one moment sounds like twigs rattling trash can lids and another minute blasts off like jet noise roaring and echoing overhead.

Turn to Crime is best when the trio fully integrates the experimental tendencies in pop-rock structure. The middle tracks execute this effectively in three-to-four-minute bites. Lead single “Sunday’s Cool,” an off-kilter tune falling somewhere between The Growlers and The Replacements, swings to a retro beat. Likewise, “Forgiveness” furthers that strange, 1950s warbled AM radio sound with stoner rock reverb. In following with the concept album understanding of Can’t Love, the structural diversity actually works in a way that’s reminiscent of The Mars Volta’s Frances The Mute. But moving forward, Turn to Crime will probably find more success with continuity and more complete assimilation of its influences.

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