Reviews

When We Break

Author: Brian Fogarty
11/02/2005 | Exoduster.com | www.exoduster.com | Album Review
Thank God that Stephen Pedersen has an addiction to be in a band and release exceptional records in the face of making bank as a lawyer. Many know the tale, but it‚s worth repeating. Pedersen began his musical life playing guitar in the godfathers Cursive, before heading to Duke Law School ˆ an unfortunate decision to be a Dookie. Yet, Pedersen spent much of his off time at Duke rocking neighboring Chapel Hill with his sizzling outfit the White Octave. Not unlike early Cursive, the White Octave featured Pedersen‚s angular and brilliant guitar attack and helped continually define Chapel Hill as an indie rock haven. Yet, the cold and random weather of Omaha called Pedersen back to the Saddle Creek gang ˆ or more like presented him the opportunity to be lawyer in Omaha. Naturally, Pedersen found himself momentarily bandless as he worked the law and thus started a new endeavor called Criteria. Writing Criteria‚s debut En Garde and enlisting part of the Saddle Creek gang ˆ AJ Mogis (Lullaby for the Working Class, Presto! Studios), Mike Sweeney (Beep Beep) and Aaron Druery ˆ Criteria took off. Now with their first record as a cohesive unit, When We Break rips your balls off as it slams Pedersen‚s attack guitars into a phenomenally catchy sound. Right off the bat on „Prevent the World‰ you get the sense that When We Break is like Pedersen took all the best songs from the White Octave and En Garde and distilled their essence and wrote a matching new eleven numbers. And though you could just leave „Prevent the World‰ on repeat and be fulfilled for the next few hours, another ten songs are just around the corner waiting to greet you. „Draped in the Blood‰ winds its way through two-and-a-half minutes of drilling guitars and gets you when you‚re not looking on the post-chorus. „Good Luck‰ opens with riff-right joy and is mind-blowing from then on, while „Kiss the Wake‰ slows the action to an array of thick jabbing muting guitars. Following with the slower tip, „Grey Matter‰ shifts between mellow verses and thrashing classic Pedersen choruses. After a length intro, „Salt in Game‰ punctuates the bass of Mogis though is a relative flounder as is the next number „Self Help.‰ Quasi-metal riffs open „Run Together‰ and soon gives way to a less ominous sound, while Pedersen strikes „Ride the Snake‰ like a classic early 90s melodic punk song. Before the glorious closer „Connections,‰ comes the rather place filler „On Time.‰ „Connections‰ rocks for five minutes once again on the back of Pedersen and Druery‚s guitars and is quite a fitting closer for a tremendous record. Far and away this is the best album that Pedersen through his various bands ˆ Cursive, White Octave, Criteria ˆ has ever put out. And that is saying a lot. Grade A/A-
When We Break

When We Break

LP / CD / MP3




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When We Break

When We Break

LP / CD / MP3


Prevent the World Single

Prevent the World Single

CD / 7" / MP3


En Garde

En Garde

CD / MP3


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