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Album Review

The majority of the recording reminds one of what would have happened if Tom Petty, Paul Westerberg, and The Beatles had gotten together and realized they had writer's block. Most musicians can write a piece of slow music that's interesting, but here the results are almost sleep inducing on six of the eight tracks (ex: "Believe Me, Camille"). One of the only two highlights arrives in the form of "He's So Zen," which does showcase a strong song structure brimming with possibilities. The last of the standouts is "Peace," a raw song recorded by the group's songwriting duo, John and Steve Conte, when they were 9 and 10 years old. It reminds one of a punkier version of The Jackson 5. If more of the songs had this energy, it would be a much more enjoyable listen.

Customer Reviews

Disagreeing with the professional review for a number of reasons

I think that "Lineoleum", overall, was a better album than most people gave it credit for. It may not have uniformly been consistent in its overall sound (i.e. either uniformly stripped down sounds or energetically rockish) or hit you with catchy rockish songs, but it had a number of moments where it shined quite well for the Conte brothers. "He's So Zen" is definitely the highlight this album has to offer with it's energetic edge instrumentally and the strong punch Steve Conte gives to the vocals there. "Toughest Girl in the Neighborhood" has a nice steady flow in the rock progression, and a interesting story to back it- I'd compare my reaction to it on the same level as "Out of My Head" from The Contes' "Bleed Together" album, a pleasant listen in and of itself. "Heart Shaped Glasses" was one of my favorite songs from this album for a number of years, in part for the stripped down, soulful rock melody and Steve's vocals coloring it in painting the strain of a relationship. "Peace" is a fun, retrospective look into the early recordings of the brothers, abeit brief, but cute recording. "Believe Me Camille" is not, as the prof review put it, "sleep inducing" by any means; I think it works as well as it does because it sells the conviction of the song through the overall vocal. It's probably not as "radio-friendly" or catchy, but honest and reflective, as is "Strawberry Velvet Fifty Cent Shoes". I liked the build up of "Lovers on Earth", it starts off with a smooth progression but starts building up to a heavier tonality particularly during the chorus, John Conte accenting the instrumental progressions of the song very well. The only song I could say on this record that didn't really catch me was "Last Confession", it's great with the overall melody, but it doesn't quite have as much punch with the vocal or quite the conviction heard in some of the other tracks. Granted, "Lineoleum" may not be the strongest album uniformly in the Conte Brothers' discography (under the names of both Crown Jewels and The Contes), but it's by no means a bad record, it's decent enough to stand on its own and would perhaps prove quite disappointing if you're looking for something similar to the Jewels' illustrious first album. It does well with the material it handles for the most part. I'd recommend it if you're looking for something that eases into the progression of their recordings shown in The Contes "Bleed Together" - more of a stripped down sound (and I think noting that fits well with the name of the album, as you uncover different layers with respect to each song) and while it might not hit you with songs that could get stuck into your head for days, it leaves you with warm feelings to consider. I'd likely give the album a 3.5/5 star rating if I could.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Crown Jewels came together in New York City in 1995, but its two core musicians, brothers John (bass) and Steve Conte (vocals/guitar), started recording together at the ages of nine and ten in their family's living room. After the 1994 split of their nationally recognized, blues-rock driven group Company of Wolves, the duo moved forward in their musical pursuits with former Psychedelic Furs/Iggy Pop drummer, Paul Garisto. The Conte brothers, who were known for their session work with the likes of...
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Linoleum, Crown Jewels
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