Returning from self-imposed exile, prolific math rock wonder Rob Crow has assembled a band and begun making jittery US indie-punk again. You’re Doomed. Be Nice, on vinyl LP and CD from Temporary Residence, is immediately recognizable as a Rob Crow record; his relaxed vocals and tense, jagged guitars are all there. This is an important reminder of why he has become a low-key legend.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 13 April 2016
We’ve all been there - stormed out of something before thinking about it carefully and slowly backtracking. But Rob Crow’s temporary ‘retirement’ from music has reaped personal dividends. He quit drinking, caffeine and junk food and now looks slimline and healthy. Good lad. All those things are possible to give up but music is a trickier one and so Crow couldn’t leave it alone and now has scratched the itch with this solo album.
He is best known, as you may know, for the wonderful pastoral emo band Pinback and this solo LP won’t disenchant fans of their jerky, strummy pop. In complete contrast to similarly tuneful pop fans Death Cab For Cutie, Crow’s music seems to have got more emo sounding over the years and this follows in the path of the last couple of Pinback records by mixing intelligent sophisticated pop moves with emo-flavoured shouty bits. This isa generally fine but I find the likes of the frat lad shouting chorus of ‘Business Interrupts’ a little bit obvious and audience pleasing. Crow is an expert of the type of jangle pop that if Field Music did it would be all over the 6 Music schedules. His softer moments as on the verses of ‘Paper Doll Parts’ are gorgeous and twinkling withy great intertwining guitar parts. It reminds me, actually, of the better bits of Bob Mould’s solo work. The album sounds like a culmination of Crow’s frustrations over the past couple of years and it’s a really intense, mathy listen at times with hard to follow structures that sometimes amaze but are sometimes so clever that they go straight atop your bonce.
Still, Crow is a singular talent with a signature sound that he never veers to far from. I’m glad he’s back making music as there is a place in the world for these brainy compositions.
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