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Criteria - When We Break Album Cover

Criteria - When We Break

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This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Criteria – When We Break
Saddle Creek Records

{SCORE: 7.9/10}
1. Prevent the World
2. Draped in the Blood
3. Good Luck
4. Kiss the Wake
5. Grey Matter
6. Salt in Game
7. Self Help
8. Run Together
9. Ride the Snake
10. On Time
11. Connections

I don’t think there’s a person that hears Criteria and doesn’t think “huge.”

Everyone knows this band is big. The guitars exert tidal waves of chords thicker than your skull, and even individual notes resonate with width and vigor. The bass will rumble in your chest, and the drum beats kick you in the heart. It’s a surprise frontman and founder Stephen Pederson can even elevate his voice to the foreground. Yet he does, and in his elegantly disheveled (Admit It!) manner he delivers his poignant and sometimes brash lyrics with all the confidence in the world.

The first few booming drum raps are the turn back now point. An instant later you’re drowning, and willingly, in the most positively energetic anthem of the year. It doesn’t matter what Pederson is exclaiming here, the song will lift your feet off the ground. Pleaseeeee, I’m begging you… BLAST THIS SONG next time you’re feeling remotely good. It’s rock ecstasy. The song attempts to chronicle Stephen’s expedition of a music career, but more specifically his breaking from an occupation in law to pursue his true passion… any guesses?

Take advantage of in between track time, because you won’t get any other chances to breathe. Track after soaring track is nonstop, in your face, don’t stop moving. “Grey Matter,” is perhaps your only hope for a gasp as Criteria ease in a little of the beloved piano to the mix. As far as any other surprises, the modern, ambiguously eerie vibe in “Self Help,” not only provides a sweet edge but makes for a dark, gutwrenching rocker, and the semi-accapella entrance of “Ride the Snake,” serves to shake things up a bit, offering a stripped showcase of Pederson’s vocal ability.

On a tangent note, the refrained piano piece in “Grey Matter,” as well as in the outro to the record, makes me smile.

One hallmark of the Criteria sound is the insertion of simplistic higher framed solos over the chugging weight of a chord breakdown. Much to this listener’s satisfaction, these sweet spots are still allocated wisely in the bridges of tracks like “Good Luck,” “Kiss the Wake,” and then sporadically in the body of scattered others. Always welcome, always effective.

Saddle Creek were wise to finally add these soldiers to their indie rock ranks, among their Omaha brothers and sisters. The most refreshing aspect here is the emphatic reverberation of the notion that Criteria aren’t afraid to pick up their guitars and make some fucking noise.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 4 of 4
01:58 PM on 02/10/06
#2
SavingTheDay
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Okay, so I'm kind of confused here.
1. You reviewed this album without reviewing "En Garde" first. My guess is that you probably didn't even bother to listen to their first release before diving into the task of reviewing their latest. Somehow, I'm not surprised--it just kind of seems logical to me to know the band before writing an indepth critique of one of their releases.
2. You spent the entire written portion of the review talking about how wonderful the album is, but you only rated it as 7.9/10 overall. This doesn't really click in my head. 7.9 is the kind of rating you would give an average album, not one that your ultimately going to promote in the review. Call me crazy, but the way you talked about the album in that review, I would have expected at least a rating of a 9.
3. I would have expected to see a review for En Garde lonnnnng before this review was posted. It was released on Initial Records, you know... a label just small enough to be considered "cool" by this website. Plus, as much as I love When We Break, I'm a much bigger fan of En Garde. Maybe the only reason this review was even written was because they're on Saddle Creek now. Who am I to judge your motives though?
Just a little food for thought. Take it for what you will.
02:17 PM on 02/10/06
#3
Garett Press
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Originally Posted by SavingTheDay
Okay, so I'm kind of confused here.
1. You reviewed this album without reviewing "En Garde" first. My guess is that you probably didn't even bother to listen to their first release before diving into the task of reviewing their latest. Somehow, I'm not surprised--it just kind of seems logical to me to know the band before writing an indepth critique of one of their releases.
2. You spent the entire written portion of the review talking about how wonderful the album is, but you only rated it as 7.9/10 overall. This doesn't really click in my head. 7.9 is the kind of rating you would give an average album, not one that your ultimately going to promote in the review. Call me crazy, but the way you talked about the album in that review, I would have expected at least a rating of a 9.
3. I would have expected to see a review for En Garde lonnnnng before this review was posted. It was released on Initial Records, you know... a label just small enough to be considered "cool" by this website. Plus, as much as I love When We Break, I'm a much bigger fan of En Garde. Maybe the only reason this review was even written was because they're on Saddle Creek now. Who am I to judge your motives though?
Just a little food for thought. Take it for what you will.
I LOVE En Garde. I don't know why you would assume that I "didn't bother". I knew about Criteria way before When We Break, and En Garde is a favorite of mine.

I don't understand the logic that says I should have first reviewed En Garde. That album was released before I even worked at this website. That's just an insane thing to say.

There aren't any negative aspects of the review, but there is certianly no evidence that it should earn a score any higher than a 7.9, which is basically an 8. When I read the review, it says the album is loud, energetic, and uplifting, but lacks words of hype or extreme praise. Sounds like an 8 to me.

You were right with your last point though, you are in no place to judge my motives. This review had nothing to do with the fact that it was released on Saddle Creek.

Don't like the review? Cool, say it. Want to try and judge my motivation with a negative attack? Unwarranted.
12:47 AM on 07/18/11
#4
Earlstein
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