Rob Crow, best known for his work in his band Pinback, has had his ups and downs this past year. After announcing a break from the industry, Rob Crow is back at it again –and this time with a band, Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place. Their debut album, You’re Doomed. Be Nice. Is an emotional, complex, often dark progressive rock journey. Rob Crow and his fellow musicians tackle some very real content with intense melodies that remain just on the cusp of accessible.
The album starts off with dissonance. Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place has no qualms with getting dark and grungy. “Oh, The Sadmakers,” strikes a balance between grunge and progressive rock. Crow takes on flowing melodies that often provide ghastly vibes with his singing. Meanwhile, the instrumentation carries things along with layers of texture. Guitars play some neat rifts and it all comes together perfectly. The album then transitions into an equally dark second track, “This Distance,” which features some heavy percussion and amazing atmosphere. The two songs combined make for a perfect start to You’re Doomed. Be Nice. They’re ominous and introduce a ton of emotionally driven melodies.
Immediately after the heavy start, Crow gives us a moment of relief, with a more upbeat sounding track, “Business Interruptus.” The track really gives nods to Pinback and serves as both a throwback, and a worthy new addition to the catalog. The song is chirpy, the bass is groovy, the melodies sound like summer, and the vocals are clean and pleasant. In many ways, this multifacetedness is what makes You’re Doomed. Be Nice. particularly great. While many songs deliver on an emotional front, Crow is sure to keep things interesting with a variety of tracks crafted from experience.
You’re Doomed. Be Nice. sits in a weird place of being ‘almost perfect’. Rob Crow is a musical veteran at this point in the game –the man has had a successful musical project for quite a while now. Crow’s not only developed his own style through Pinback (and sometimes Pinback really does peek through in Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place), but he’s also had the chance to see his own genre evolved and take form. The final product is this fantastic summation of genuinely intense inspiration, years of perfecting, and overall musical growth. And at this point, it would be very easy to call You’re Doomed. Be Nice. a masterpiece and leave it at that.
Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place feels kind of like an unfinished idea. The end goal is in sight and all of the parts are there, but Crow is yet to just execute it perfectly. You’re Doomed. Be Nice. features some great tracks with amazing variety and it’s honestly a great listen, but it just seems as if Crow could take it a little further. The album doesn’t ever push you into a state of awe, but it’s a great listen. More particularly, when Crow reaches for the grittier vibes, it would be nice to really hear him push the issue. Often times the vocals take a grungy approach and the melodies become solemn. It’s convincing, but often a little hard to digest. Regardless, You’re Doomed. Be Nice. is a great album, and more importantly, feels like a musical step forward for Crow.
You’re Doomed. Be Nice. is eclectic and so everyone is likely to favor different songs in significantly different ways. Perhaps the apex of the album though, is “Rest Your Soul.” It’s fast and poppy. The song really moves with quick guitar chords. While the song sounds relatively upbeat, it features enough dark twists to keep things fresh. The chorus is a sarcastic little blast of fun. Best of all, “Rest Your Soul,” just proves that You’re Doomed. Be Nice. has a little bit of something for everyone.
If this is a sign of what’s to come, You’re Doomed. Be Nice. is only leaving us wanting more. Crow seems to have paid special attention to keeping old Pinback fans happy. Meanwhile, Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place is defining itself as a fantastic new endeavor. If you’re into grungy tunes, emotional sincerity, poppy indie rock tracks, or just so happen need a solid new listen –You’re Doomed. Be Nice. is an album worth exploring.