Crises starts out with the only track released so far, titled Existential Crisis at the Cask ‘n Flagon which couldn’t be more in the styling of A Loss For Words – a punchy riff/drum combination with vocals from the rougher end of the pop punk spectrum that breaks out into a massive catchy chorus.
The momentum moves well into I Feel An Army In My Fist, which involves emo influences to create the melodic hardcore/pop punk cross that the band have created through the years. The vocals here are rough with more shouted/screamed backing vocals and power chord rhythm guitars keeping the whole tune in check. It provides the real kick-off point of Crises and pushes the energy right up to change the tracks following from becoming one of their good albums to perhaps their best.
In Your Company is a standout track, not only for its quality but for its style that is so different from the rest of the pieces on Crises. For the first three minutes, there are just vocals over a quick acoustic guitar part that keeps the pace of the song right up. The address to someone special allows the lyrics to dig deep yet the pace keeps it light and the breaking into full band means the words get a different feel to them despite keeping the same melodies and tempo.
Another standout is Boston’s Wayward Son (Exit 16B) which is both a comment on how far they have come from their humble roots and how they are still fond of their home back in Massachusetts. The opening line of “lately I’ve been looking back to where I fell off-track” sets the tone instantly for the song – a light-hearted view of the past while being serious about the present. The instrumentals throughout are also solid, with a soaring chorus and clever scale leads throughout.
Lyrically, the record is very diverse. It goes from themes of change, loss and home and switches between with ease. Lines like “I was a hollow shell of my former self, and I missed her so much I felt physically ill” from In Your Company show how they can manipulate word sounds however they like to fit the instrumental below it – a regular sign of good songwriting.
Overall, an album that sums up the music of A Loss For Words in the space of a 45-minute period. As final albums for bands go, this one is one of the finest not only for its nostalgic feel but also its ability to be a fantastic standalone album. A fitting end to a fitting career for one of the most downright awesome pop punk bands this century, a band that has left many people including the Musicology Team at A Loss For Words. They will be sorely missed.
Preorder the Crises here, you won’t regret it.