|©1997 EMI Canada
2. Sparkle And Shine
6. The Devil You Know
7. All That You Are (X3)
9. Haven't Gone Away
11. Razorblades And Bandaides
Despite achieving reasonable success in their Canadian homeland, industrial pop-rockers Econoline Crush have never been able to make much headway in the oft-unforgiving American music scene. A shame too, because with a little bit of lady luck and a strong marketing push, they could become as popular as Filter or Stabbing Westward. Had they been around several years earlier, they might have even given Nine Inch Nails a run for their money.
The Devil You Know isn't their first album; their previous works are harsher and more emotive. With this record they opt for a more mainstream sound, denying the music any latent emotional impact and leaving it relatively innocuous. The production is actually the CD's most frustrating feature; engineer Sylvia Massy gives the record a production that is too glossy and polished, and whatever edge the music would have had is lost. But for those of you who don't mind watered-down pop industrial, this album may be worth checking out.
Songwriting-wise, the first half of the album is excellent. The opener, "Surefire", explodes into the listener's ears with fast, intense guitar/synth work and catchy lyrics. "Sparkle and Shine", another great track, revolves around a very catchy chorus, and songs like "Home" and "The Devil You Know" share similar qualities. The music probably sounds more like Filter than the more melancholy Stabbing Westward, and is still quite generic. As with both bands, there is little industrial music in Econoline Crush's sound, despite the description I used; the electronic sound effects here are merely dressing for the rock n' roll salad. Though still quite good, the second half is not as memorable, and the music fades from my attention a little. The music becomes mellower as the album progresses, finally ending with the quite good "Razorblades and Bandaides," while "Deeper" is the best "ballad" here. Trevor Hurst sings angst-filled lyrics, but his voice is a bit too tame and melodramatic for the music's own good. Again, the polished feel can get positively exasperating.
I used to like this band quite a bit, but in retrospect there was and is nothing truly special about The Devil You Know. A good buy for those searching for fleeting, ephemeral alternative rock, I however don't listen to it much.
Review by Jeffrey Shyu
Review date: 07/2000