The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A review of the album 'Crash Love' by AFI

AFT - Crash LoveReview Snapshot: The Californian rock veterans make a triumphant return with their eight studio album, proving precisely why they've lasted so long and still have the awe-inspiring ability to always exceed expectations.

The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10

Full Review:
In 1991 in a high school in Ukiah, California, sat four teenagers eager to get involved in the punk rock and hardcore music scene. They decided to start a band and set about learning how to play instruments hoping to emulate their heroes such as the Misfits and The Cure. Now, several line-up changes and some genre-hopping later AFI have presented us with 'Crash Love.'
Their previous album, 'Decemberunderground', was by all accounts a success. It was well received by both critics and fans alike, their first single from the album, ‘Miss Murder’, garnered them some mainstream attention in the US (both ‘Decemberunderground’ and ‘Miss Murder’ were number 1’s on the Billboard Chart) and they won the VMA for Best Rock Video in 2006. To say ‘Crash Love’ was eagerly anticipated would be an understatement.
Opening track ‘Torch Song’ is a cacophony of electrifying riffs and passionate singing. Musically it’s reminiscent of AFI’s early punkier, harsher sound. It’s accompanied with powerful backing vocals chanting “Anything” throughout the chorus. It perfectly encapsulates all of the best elements of AFI’s music, being progressive but without losing sight of what originally made their music so enthralling.
‘Okay, I Feel Better Now’ is a pivotal track on the album. Lyrically it's very strong,  
"I cannot breath.
I can't deny  
that I've been faking for you,  
every sign of life"

While it's not entirely different from previous songs they've written, it's a definite departure from their previous work and is incomparable. It swiftly captures a moment of emotion and effectively invites the listener in.
Another distinguished track on the album is 'I Am Trying Very Hard to be Here'. First revealed to fans a few weeks before the release of 'Crash Love' through a video of AFI in the studio with fans assisting them with backing vocals in the chorus, it was highly anticipated. Through it is lyrically weaker than the other tracks on the album, it shows guitarist Jade Puget at his best playing excellently energetic riffs.
Overall, 'Crash Love' is an admirably successful album. Though it is void of some of AFI's previous traits, most obviously no screaming from vocalist Davey Havok on any of the tracks, it is a welcome departure from 'Decemberunderground' into slightly newer territory.

Aideen O'Flaherty

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