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Crash Love

AFI

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Album Review

Goth-punk firebrands AFI follow up their smash 2006 effort, Decemberunderground, with the propulsive blast of alterna-glam that is 2009's Crash Love. Sticky with epic swaths of melodic rock and just enough swaggering goth-itude to please the emo-tweens, Crash Love is less mannered than its predecessor and reveals a band exploding with a creative power pop and metal spark. Though lead singer Davey Havok's glitter-goth persona is well intact, it seems tempered here with a bit more punkish muscle and '80s pop croon. These songs have madly obsessive hooks along with a sparkling production that never sacrifices the hard rock energy at the core of each song. In that sense, such tracks as "Too Shy to Scream," with its tribal drumbeat homage to Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes," and the swooning romantic anthem "Veronica Sawyer Smokes" come as double ice cream scoops of sugary rock bliss. Think equal parts solo Morrissey and the Raspberries and you are pretty close. Similarly moving is the pyrrhic mid-album rock ballad "Okay, I Feel Better Now," with Havok's cries of "I died for the last lie/And the heartbreak for the first time/I could not take 'til I made you cry." However, AFI are anything but saccharine, and tracks like the epic fist-pumping leadoff single, "Medicate," with its slabs of distorted Jimmy Page-esque lead guitar lines, and the equally blood pressure-raising "I Am Trying Very Hard to Be Here" are both kick-butt rockers and dancefloor-ready rave-ups. Ultimately, AFI have lightened up the band's darkly sexy vibe on Crash Love and delivered a yearning, perfect pop/rock crush of an album.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Ukiah, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although they didn't reach platinum status until 2003, hardcore punk revivalists AFI originally formed in 1991, when the band's four founding members — vocalist Davey Havok, guitarist Markus Stopholese, bassist Vic Chalker, and drummer Adam Carson — were attending high school in Ukiah, California. Chalker was replaced by Geoff Kresge after eight months, and the band played several local gigs and released a split 7", Dork, with fellow Ukiah natives Loose Change (a band that incidentally...
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Crash Love, AFI
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