After a two decade hiatus, the legendary Crime & the City Solution is back with a new incarnation based in a new home city, Detroit, and a truly stunning new CD, ‘American Twilight’, out in March 2013.
Vocalist Simon Bonney has collected an impressive lineup which teams three original members - himself, guitarist Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten), and violinist Bronwyn Adams - with five new ones, each an exceptional stylist in his or her own right.
On drums is Jim White (Dirty Three, Cat Power), on guitar David Eugene Edwards (16 Horsepower, Wovenhand), and longtime jewels of the Detroit scene Matt Smith (Outrageous Cherry, Volebeats) and Troy Gregory (Witches) are on Moog/keyboards and bass respectively. For the first time a breathtaking visual dimension is added in the form of spectacular back projected imagery created by and screened throughout the live show by new member Danielle de Picciotto.
This American/German/Australian incarnation of Crime is all over Youtube, with universally positive responses to every performance on their 2012 world tour. The new sound is not a mere retread but a continuation and development of where the last, Berlin based lineup left off, and has a combination of the artful and the visceral that is emblematic of the Crime and the City Solution sound and vision.
Crime & the City Solution’s roots go back to when the then sixteen year old singer Simon Bonney had a big impact on key figures of the early Melbourne art-punk/post punk scene when they first saw the band play in Sydney.
In 1984, Bad Seed Mick Harvey shipped Bonney to England to form the London based Crime with their friend the brilliant and ever influential ex-Birthday Party guitarist Rowland S Howard, his brother Harry Howard on bass and Epic Soundtracks on drums. Two years on, having toured Europe, the UK and US and released a several EPs and an album, this lineup reached its zenith at its finale in a historic swansong performance in Wim Wenders’ cinematic masterpiece ‘Wings of Desire’.
Bonney has always felt he truly found his voice and the definitive sound he sought with the Wall era Berlin incarnation of Crime, which rose out of the Melbournian expat / West Berliner nexus, and between 1986 and 1991 recorded three studio albums and a live CD. This was a more experimental sound, which drew less on Melbourne post punk scene roots and took a more explorative musical approach, strongly influenced by the likes of Can, but shot through with melody and a warm opulent sensuality. With Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alex Hacke on guitar, ex-DAF/Liaisons Dangereuses electronic genius Chrislo Haas on vintage Korg patchbay synth, and free jazz trio bassist Thomas Stern, Mick Harvey on drums and Bonney’s lyrical collaborator Bronwyn Adams on violin, the band was now 50% Berliner, and an instant chemistry was felt which rendered this lineup a powerful entity, greater than the sum of its parts.
Its output of stylistically diverse material, which ranged from deeply romantic and hummable love song (Grain Will Bear Grain) to epic satire (The Brideship, The Last Dictator) and riff based drone groove (Hunter) made it difficult to pigeonhole, which led to some confusion in the media about where the band sat in the scheme of things. Crime and the City Solution remains something of an underground cult band. It has maintained a passionately dedicated following, but is as yet undiscovered by many who would be amazed by its originality and power.