Coming in at a whopping hour-and-fifteen with 16 tracks taking up the runtime, Miscellaneous Plumbing Fixtures have presented a behemoth for people to dig their teeth into.
The Conspiracy of Change is a strong start with its deep mixture of guitars that blend into one another creating this rainbow of assorted sounds. Coupled with a simplistic drum beat that mimics a heartbeat in places, and lead by strong wailing vocals that crack at times. It’s powerful throughout its six-minute runtime, pushing the boundaries a little and showcasing what’s to come.
This Money is Ours begins to show where Truer Crime’s strengths truly lie. Across all but one track, Miscellaneous Plumbing Fixtures works with a variety of artists to complete the tracks. And this second track is fantastic with it’s much more New York Jazz feel, incorporating a strong trumpet presence to take up one of the leading instrumental spots. It shakes things up and makes for this fantastic upbeat jazz track.
One of the more unusual tracks, The Painted Floor starts out with the singing being recorded in the bathroom. It’s not just the intro either, the whole track’s vocals are recorded in a bathroom, and it gives a feeling of something that’s cheaper than even garage. But, it’s part of the charm, the roughness and flawed quality gives off this vibe of creativity coming to you at the most random of times.
Jay Mayo is one of the more prominent artists appearing on Truer Crimes, and Icebreaker shows how well the two artists work together. The duet of smooth and rough vocals, with the rougher half being echoed in the back. The amount of acoustic, bass and electric guitars that sound borderline freestyle make this song one of the standouts of the album, purely due to the amount of variety and funky sound.
Wanna, once again features Jay Mayo and brings the now familiar variety of guitars that seep into every track featuring him. Wanna is a bit more dialled back and easy listening than Icebreaker, but it’s no less powerful in its message. Crooning about wanting a comfortable life, its a message we can all relate to, and the theme fits the easy listening vibe incredibly well.
Who Died and Made You King, the longest track on an album that’s filled with longer than average tracks. Clocking in at nearly 8-minutes, it carries a strong prog-rock style and makes for possibly the most beautiful track on the album. Coupled with Hilde Heynickx’s guest vocals, again becoming another duet. But with Hilde’s vocals, it adds this much needed softening to the song that would have sound so much more bitter without her. Jay Mayo even makes his presence known once again, chiming in for a few vocal moments as well. Along with providing a powerful instrumental presence as with every track he appears on, the moody guitar assortments adding to the oomf the song has.
If the previous song tackled prog, then I Can’t Help With That shifts gears to a country western style. Using very minimalist arrangements, focusing everything on an acoustic guitar and vocal track recorded at home. Some additional percussion and whistles have been added during mixing, which is slightly jarring given how clean they sound compared to the meat of the main track. But as far as the song as a whole goes, it’s strong and shows how versatile the album truly is.
By the time Do It For Yourself rolls around, the album can be a little jarring with how it jumps up and down in quality and genres. But it, like every song, has its own charms. Utilising harmonicas and piano, it gives off the vibe of a jazz bar in the early hours of the morning. It’s got this drunken feel to it and executes that madness perfectly.
Look Behind, opens up the second half of Truer Crime. After a few more out there tracks, it once again grounds things with a more simplistic track. It gives the album a chance to breathe at a critical moment. And with three additional artists appearing on it, its got a grandiose feel to it by the end as everything comes together with an almost orchestral feel.
Someone, unfortunately is one of the weaker songs here. Whilst by no means weak, it falls behind as a little less memorable than everything else so far. The most memorable part of the song is the sampled sound of someone clattering cutlery on a plate. Whilst fitting thematically with the song’s themes of food and prison, it’s too sharp and distracting when it could have been a much quieter presence.
The Bygone Days of Industry Innovators, is the only track where no additional artists feature. It gives a purer look at Miscellaneous Plumbing Fixtures style as a whole. He really doesn’t squander the chance either. He puts every bit of his musical chops on display. Acting as a solo composer who has to perform every instrument on this track is a daunting task, and he rises to the challenge with great relish. It has the feel of a full band performing, which comes as a great surprise.
Dazzling Array, whilst certainly standing strong on its own merits with its old school rock and roll style, is where the fatigue really starts to set in on the album unfortunately. Objectively its a fantastic track with excellent composition and vocals. But in the grander scheme of the album, that 16 song track list starts to look bloated. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before up to this point, and sadly reduces the songs impact and the albums energy to a bit of a halt.
A Silent and Slow Decline is the final track that’s wholly its own and not a remix. But it brings back the style of The Painted Floor, being recorded in a home setting rather than a studio once again. Its themes tackle a look at 2020 with some thinly veiled metaphors, but is never explicit enough to pigeonhole it into something that won’t be relevant for someone somewhere down the line.
Moving into the pseudo bonus tracks of the album, the final three are all remixes of some of the highlight tracks. This Money Is Ours remixed with a Ska style by Greg Singh is a great change of pace. Dialling up the bass and changing some of the mixing to give that distinct Ska feel really works. It builds off of the use of trumpets and a strong bass riff, and takes it from there. It’s even threatens to be better than the original which is a pleasant surprise.
Someone – Jonny and The Kid Remix, is the single biggest departure from on the album. Bringing something completely New School to an album full of Old School Sensibility. Adding drum beats that are deep enough to make a subwoofer blow, turntable record scratches, and other hip-hop hallmarks. It’s a crazy fusion but also makes one of the best tracks on the album even better in a way, though that could vary from person to person.
The closing track, Who Died and Made You King – Jonny and The Kid Remix, takes the magnum opus and centrepiece track of the whole album and gives it an even more melancholic style than it already had. Choosing to shave down the runtime by a couple of minutes makes the retread of the track much easier to digest. With the added mixing of synth, and the subtraction of other vocal tracks, it brings out a stripped back track that stands on its own and makes for a fitting end to Truer Crime.
On the whole, Truer Crime is full of experimental moments, fusing country, jazz, classic rock, prog, hip-hop, new wave and more in different ways all across its runtime. It’s a journey listening to it from start to finish, a long one no doubt, but one well worth taking.