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Temporary Contemporary

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Album Review

An album about a struggling singer is nothing new. However, Ryan Shelkett, singer and guitarist of Cross My Heart, takes things to a new level on Temporary Contemporary. Shelkett displays his strong, passionate voice throughout this nine-song disc, singing about broken love and mental breakdowns in such a manner that only those who have been there may be able to truly understand. Much of the lyrical content deals with Shelkett's personal struggles with depression, his time spent on anti-depressant medication as well as his attempted suicide ("London Bridge"). While the content may be far too heavy for the average fan of emo pop, Cross My Heart makes no pretenses of this being an easy ride. The music itself is hard to swallow as well, but not in a disagreeable manner. Rather, the average fan of pop music will be taken for a disturbing ride with Cross My Heart's disenchanting ride of stops and starts combined with Shelkett's sung vocals which turn into anguish-filled screams at the drop of a hat. The softly strung guitars and light drum taps can become blurry and abrasive multiple times within the course of a track. None of this means that Cross My Heart is heavy or hardcore. Quite to the contrary, they are delicate as Shelkett weaves the tragic, heart-breaking tale of his downward spiral into depression. Only the narrow scope of the topic keeps Temporary Contemporary from being a classic, as many fans may not be able to identify with the true wretchedness which recurs in one's mind when suffering from depression. Not to be forgotten are the hooks, which, when combined with the smart songwriting, strong, dynamic vocals, and powerful lyrics, make Temporary Contemporary a win. There is an effective connection between the music and lyrics on Temporary Contemporary that clicks well and brings on success. Cross My Heart has written an album that may not be for everyone and even at that it takes a few listens to get used to, but is definitely worth it.

Customer Reviews

Great band, short lived

This band was one of the best at what they did. A lot of bands have since ripped this sound off. It's sad, but I guess that's what happens when you forge a sound. This E.P. is very close to what the band sounded like live. Raw, emotive energy, with a hint of sadness. I miss these guys.

And The Critics Say...

"One of the most anticipated records of the year and, oh, does it deliver..." - Summer Salts "Cross My Heart manages to play rock with high energy and to convey feeling better than almost any other band out there. Impeccable recording, tight playing, and the lofty, almost too-perfect vocals of Ryan Shelkett make me think that it's too easy. Shelkett's vocals are characteristically sweeping and soaring, often singing low and sometimes screaming with what the band is trying to get across. And, man, they're so good when they're playing fast and furious. Any fan of their earlier EP will feel comforted with "Tonight We'll Light Ourselves On Fire," probably this album's best song, keeping the pace high and infused with impressive guitar work. Cross My Heart plays the most emotional and powerful music being played today, whether they're on the verge of screaming their hearts out or singing slow and personal. Their power and aggressive rock is just amazing...maturing on Temporary Contemporary. A ride definitely worth the price of admission." - Delusions of Adequacy "Loud power chord solidity and rhythmic octaves damn catchy. Cross My Heart are a melodic indie band that can rock out hard in that untamed indie sort of way. On Temporary Contemporary they are controlled and have mastered the best aspects of soft indie rock like Karate or Chamberlain. They play all the parts right and have a great production to back it up." - Heartattack "A fantastic album which is as catchy as it is deep and meaningful. Songs such as 'The Great Depression,' 'London Bridge' and 'Infinity Doesn't Live Here Anymore' are deeply moving and inspirational. This band, musically, are everything you could ever want, and lyrically, go beyond that. Temporary Contemporary impressed me beyond all expectations and would make a welcome addition in anyone's music collection." - Casaba "Finally, the much anticipated first full length from Cross My Heart is here. Temporary Contemporary exceeds any expectations I had for this record. From the first chord played I was drawn in and held for the entire album. I can imagine listening to this on a rainy day while staring out the window and smoking cigarettes. For the most part the album is pretty mellow, but it can also change dramatically into powerful guitars and screaming vocals. Ryan Shelkett matches the music just right with his vocals, changing with every mood. This is an excellent album. Temporary Contemporary is a hit." - Heckler "Temporary Contemporary is intense emo that moves further and hits deeper than Cross My Heart's last release. It's not as intense as in hardcore, though you can feel it when the group rages. The poetic lyrics read like lines from lost love poems, with tales of longing and loss. There's raw intensity that explodes and is also held back, but even in the quietest moments, you can feel the guitars straining to get out. It's structured yet loose enough to hang yourself by, as you cut and strain along with the vocals that tie knots in your throat. Moving alongside bands such as The Appleseed Cast and Pop Unknown but holding its own, Cross My Heart has its own dynamics, sharing a style but making it breath with a certain heat." - Big Takeover "Cross My Heart is a powerful band. They're so forceful that they're starting to move into my subconscious. Lead singer Ryan Shelkett has burrowed into my dreams. Perhaps that says something about the hooks on this album as well. They're in my mind all the time. Smart songwriting, strong, dynamic vocals and powerful lyrics make this a win in my book. To hear Ryan croon, 'my life, I'm over it' makes my heart break. There is a effective connection between the music and lyrics on 'Temporary Contemporary' that clicks well." - ActionAttackHelicopter

Great Album....

I hate the term "emo", but this is one of the best albums of the genre. Great vocals, guitars...just overall great songs!!


Formed: 1999 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The embryonic emo band Cross My Heart has been well touted in the press for their creatively wounded lyrics, and frontman Ryan Shelkett doesn't refrain from hitting upon despair, remorse, and revival. The Baltimore four-piece (rounded out by drummer Evan Tanner, bassist Christopher Camden, and guitarist/vocalist Dwayne Bruner) released its self-titled EP in 1999. Their full-length Temporary Contemporary, a strong showcase of Cross My Heart's restless...
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Temporary Contemporary, Cross My Heart
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