In the all-new single “City of Love,” Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene experiment with a boldly toned style of soulful rock music that has become a bit of trademark in their music, and among all of its intriguing layers, there’s no debate as to whether or not its lead singer is its most attractive draw. Kerry Pastine’s white-hot vocal is sizzling in “City of Love,” and while she gives just as powerful a performance in the other tracks found on her band’s latest album (also titled City of Love), this could be her best showcase on the entire LP.
Pastine’s smoky voice isn’t the only gem to behold here; on the contrary, the string play is often just as evocative a component, though it is perhaps not as cosmetically stunning at the onset of the song as it is further down the line. There’s a churning undertow to the guitar melodies that keeps us on the edge of our seats from start to finish in “City of Love,” and were the track not mixed with as much of a low-end beefiness as it’s got in this present incarnation, I’m not certain that it would be as engaging a listen as it is in this heavy-handed version.
The beats shadowing Pastine’s verse are as stirring as any of her words are, and in a couple of instances, I think that they contribute an emotional agency that wouldn’t have been active, much less visible, in “City of Love” otherwise. You can tell that a lot of thought went into designing this single to be as multidimensional as possible without devolving into something so avant-garde that the casual music fan wouldn’t be as interested in its contents as a more diehard audiophile would. It’s pleasantly complex and yet evocative in an accessible, unfanciful fashion, which isn’t something that I can say about any of the other tracks I’ve been spinning this December.
I would really love to hear “City of Love” and the other songs it shares a tracklist with in a live setting because, to be perfectly honest, I think that Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene’s sound was made for the stage more than it was the studio. Don’t get me wrong – they’re hitting all the right notes in this track (and, not to mention, sounding like a swaggering unit from top to bottom), but to fully enjoy their scope of talents, an environment that would encourage random improvisations and aesthetical experimentations simply not possible anywhere else could offer us an even better look into their artistry.
Though I wasn’t listening to their work with any level of seriousness before now, I’ll definitely be staying tuned to Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene’s output as the next decade in indie rock history enters focus less than a month from now. The whole LP that “City of Love” shares its name with is worth a close inspection if you dig exotic, relentlessly melodic verses and an old fashioned swing, but if there’s a song on the album in need of more attention than any of the others beside it, this is definitely the one.