When We Break
Author: Drew Hudson
08/03/2005 | The Tripwire | www.thetripwire.com | Album Review
Criteria 's inevitable creation is the result of mastermind Stephen Pedersen 's desire to create music while living in a dim mildewy basement. Of course, since it's a Saddle Creek release, Criteria is a hybrid of various Omaha musicians like do it all musical guru AJ Mogis and Mike Sweeny of Beep Beep . Pedersen is no stranger to music making, and his earlier efforts on Cursive 's first two albums were remarkable. However, the unique chemistry that comes across in Criteria's second full-length release, When We Break , is the collective creative energies of each member, including the band's secret weapon guitarist Aaron Druery . The album is a loud, sometimes rambunctious, dive into unsolicited pop-rock. A big guitar sound that is excellently mixed along side Pedersen's crude vocals produces melodies that could be compared to Weezer meets Ted Stevens meets a bottle of Creatine. The tone is angst ridden and sincere, void of any pretentious sinicism. But Criteria is also very catchy and has managed to produce an album of anthems which are sure to do extremely well with specialty and college radio outlets. The eleven tracks on When We Break are simply invincible, and the bands major accomplishment is yet another progressive step forward for Saddle Creek Records.