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Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene’s “City of Love”

Set to a jagged beat that mimics the angsty tone of the song’s main melody, the percussive thrust we find in the background of Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene’s “City of Love” is as enthralling as they come, but never so powerful as to steal away any of the thunder that Pastine is creating all by herself at center stage. Driven by a lusty rhythm and a searing lead vocal that could cut through even the mightiest of instrumentation, “City of Love” sees Pastine and her band indulging in some of the best aspects of their sound without overextending themselves or stepping into experimental territories that they’re not yet ready to face as a group.

Everything in this track is essentially constructed around the colorful vocal at the center of the mix, and with a singer like Kerry Pastine handling the microphone, the format works out exceptionally well. Her style of attack is equal parts old school crooning and contemporary rock n’ roll fieriness, and although her lyrics are somewhat enigmatic, her moody melodicism lends a credibility to the narrative that makes it much easier for the audience to relate than it would have been with someone else leading the charge. Pastine is a commanding force to be reckoned with, but thanks to the meticulousness of both The Crime Scene and producers, we’re able to appreciate all of her abilities in “City of Love” without having to sift through a lot of unnecessary fluff that would have ultimately watered-down the song as a complete piece.

This mix is incredibly efficient, but not to such an extent that it feels like we’re being robbed of the textured fabric of the instrumentation. The strings glisten with a light reverb that springs back into place almost instantly, and against the backdrop of the haunting percussion, they create a ghostly harmony with Pastine’s verses that stings even harder than the slithering bassline does. It’s an unconventionally heavy single in comparison to some of the material this band has released prior to now, but I for one find it to be one of the more sonically provocative of any I’ve heard from their camp thus far. If “City of Love” is a look into their future, Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene are going to be making some of their best stuff to date in the next couple of years.

After decades of being ignored by much of the mainstream spotlight, Colorado’s vibrant underground is finally coming into its own on the strength of artists like Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene, who demonstrate a tremendous amount of creative moxie and original attitude in this most recent release. If you’ve yet to hear their work for yourself, I’d recommend checking out “City of Love” before exploring their deeper discography, as it perhaps encapsulates a side of their identity that was previously fragmented across the various tracks they’ve recorded in their career so far. It’s an amalgamation of highly diverse melodies, and from this group, I would honestly expect nothing else.

John McCall

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