"Play that one again!"
The guy shouting from the audience at Bogart's on Sunday night wanted to hear the West Berlin-based Crime and the City Solution play the atmospheric "Angel" one more time. No wonder; a slow, dramatic plea for romantic redemption, the song (from the sextet's new album, "Shine") was the centerpiece of the Solution's striking set.
Crime and the City Solution--formed around singer Simon Bonney and sharing musician Mick Harvey with Nick Cave's Bad Seeds--is made up of three Australians and three West Germans. For what is purportedly a loosely structured outfit, this group displayed a remarkable cohesiveness.
At times the band has the earthy feel of both old blues and country sounds and the slightly mystical aura of the early Doors. But rather than rehash time-worn styles, the Solution translates these forms into it's own introspective idioms. On pieces like "The Great Ahead," slide guitar, white noise synthesizer effects, crashing drums and mournful violin conjured up a feeling of loping through vast, lonely spaces. The musicians created a vivid maelstrom behind Bonney, whose stream-of-consciousness approach has the intimate, soul-searching feel of a man talking to himself in the middle of the night.
Unlike many of the other bands these musicians have been associated with, Crime and the City Solution are not about alienation, confusion and mordant introspection. Bonney's Solution is one of hope, of finding the light at the end of the tunnel. The group deserves to play it again.