Release Date: Mar 26, 2013
Record label: Mute
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Crime & The City Solution paved the way for their first studio album since 1991 by revisiting their past with last year’s An Introduction To…. A collection of recordings made between 1987-91, it précised the band’s four-year period living in the Berlin captured in Wim Wenders’ Wings Of Desire (the 1987 film in which they also performed). With help from Birthday Party/Bad Seed dynamo Mick Harvey on drums CATCS has always centred around singer Simon Bonney, who’d originally formed the group in Australia in 1977.
Detroit was the perfect location for Crime & the City Solution to record their first album in 22 years. They couldn't have been framed by a better metaphor than setting up in a city consumed with the fight -- often against itself -- for survival. Founder, lead vocalist, and lyricist Simon Bonney is joined by longtime collaborators violinist Bronwyn Adams and guitarist Alexander Hacke.
For nearly 40 years in the industry Crime & The City Solution have relatively little to show for themselves. Initially forming in 1977 and then disbanding just two years later in 1979, having not released a single thing, they can hardly be surprised at their anonymity. Lead singer Simon Bonney did get a lot further with his second incarnation of Crime & The City Solution, managing to get off the mark and release three studio albums between 1982 and 1990.
Crime & the City Solution’s Simon Bonney once played the debauched poet to Nick Cave’s wanton literary malcontent. But he shares his fellow Aussie’s obsession with a sort of mythical America that probably never existed. Indeed, on the snarling title track of American Twilight he concedes, “The poor always been fucked by the rich.” Their first album in 23 years finds Bonney again waxing romantic and sardonic over lurching post-punk stormers and haunted spaghetti Western ballads.
The crew of swaggering musicians that makes up Crime & the City Solution have quite a history. And it’s okay if that’s news to your good self - they’ve been out of the limelight for a couple of decades. We last left them with three studio and one live album in Berlin (1986 - 1991), hitched up with a host of interesting and musical mavericks like Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alex Hacke on guitar, ex-DAF/Liaisons Dangereuses electronic genius Chrislo Haas on vintage Korg, free jazz trio bassist Thomas Stern, Bad Seed Mick Harvey on drums and even a lyrical collaborator and violinist Bronwyn Adams.
Call it the year of the comeback. We haven’t made it to April yet, and already 2013 has played witness to some of the most unlikely resurrections this side of Chinese Democracy. A week into the new year, David Bowie announced his first studio album since 2003’s Reality. Not one to be outdone, Justin Timberlake dropped “Suit and Tie” a few days later (with a full-length following two months behind).
Ye gods – has it really been 23 years since Crime & The City Solution last released an album in the shape of Paradise Discotheque? It's strange to pause and think about the cultural and political events in the intervening years. It's even more depressing to surmise that, despite the inexorable and ubiquitous rise of information technology, as a collection of races, cultures and societies, the world is in a far worse state than it was when the band's Simon Bonney tackled the appalling legacy of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu back in 1990. Much like running into an old friend and continuing the conversation you left off several decades ago, Crime & The City Solution pick things up pretty much where they left them, as once again they cast a wry eye over a world that isn't so much spinning as screwing itself into a deep hole.
The artistic ethics debate about bands reforming long after their demise is one that will rage on for forever and a day (long after the likes of Oasis have eventually done umpteenth reunion tours to fleece creaky Britpop fans with Northern Uproar as a support act). It seems that even with past members slipping off this mortal coil not many bands can remain separated forever. Yet few might have been expecting Crime & The City Solution to reappear.