Sounds like … anthemic modern rock laced with emo and hardcore, closest in sound to Mae, Fall Out Boy, Anberlin, Taking Back Sunday, The Juliana Theory, and Sanctus RealAt a glance … listeners expecting clear-cut songs about Christian faith may want to pass on The Silver Cord, though there are enough spiritual themes present within the inventive and explosive modern rock to make The Classic Crime a breakout band in 2008Track Listing The End Just a Man Grave Digging The Way That You Are 5805 Salt in the Snow Abracadavers R and R God and Drugs Medisin The Ascent Sing Everything Closer Than We Think The Beginning

Let's dive in by noting that The Classic Crime began with excellence in 2006. Though the Seattle band has not yet become a household name, they've attracted over 3 million plays at their MySpace page and with 4,000 copies of their impressive 2006 debut Albatross sold in the first week of release, they've had the highest debut sales in the history of Tooth & Nail. So is it fair to say that The Classic Crime could become "the next big thing" with their sophomore effort?

Impossible to predict, but the band have clearly made the effort to improve with The Silver Cord, and rock fans will likely have to stand up and take notice. Mae, Anberlin, Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday—The Classic Crime resembles all of these with just enough performance verve to set them apart. Justin DuQue and Robbie Negrin contribute killer guitar work—including some honest-to-goodness solos—and with a voice that effortlessly alternates between rock, pop, emo, and metal, Matt MacDonald can certainly belt it with the best of them

The overall sound is bigger and more expansive than the previous album, never settling for the formulaic rut that most emo-laced modern rock settles for. "Sing" and "Grave Digging" are certainly in line with the driving modern rock we're accustomed to from such bands, but "5805" instantly grabs the ear with its rock-waltz feel and "Closer Than We Think" even begins with a slight reggae influence.

It's worth mentioning that since last album, The Classic Crime has officially stated that they are not "exclusively" a Christian band. Yet it's also clear that faith and spirituality still play significant parts in the themes and song lyrics. MacDonald even notes that the album title dates back to the Old Testament in reference to the fragility of life. So between the opening of "The End" and the finale of "The Beginning," listeners will find a broad range of subjects dealing with the struggles and harsh realities of the human condition.

These messages are admittedly sometimes confusing—"Everything," for example, depicts giving in to lust. Yet there are redemptive qualities as well, like the prideful shortcomings of humanity expressed in "Just a Man," or "God and Drugs" declaring that addictions are a poor substitute for our heart's true desire. In this way, the album could be viewed as a portrayal of the stuff that competes for our soul in this life. As such, I caution against The Silver Cord to those seeking a more clear-cut, "safe" example of Christian rock. But as it stands, The Classic Crime remains one of Tooth & Nail's best bands with an album nearly as ambitious as Mae's The Everglow in scope and theme.

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