Reviews

When We Break

Author: Mark Jenkins
01/20/2006 | Washington Post | www.washingtonpost.com | Live Show Preview
"I'M STUCK in the basement world," announces the first line of "Prevent the World," the song that opens Criteria's bristling second album, "When We Break." That sense of confinement underlies everything this Omaha quartet band does. The music is always threatening to soar yet takes its urgency from its sense of being hemmed in. If singer-guitarist Stephen Pedersen ever broke out of the basement, he would probably lose the tension that's crucial to his group's appeal.
This push-pull style, of course, is not unfamiliar. Criteria, whose frontman is both a lawyer and a former member of Cursive, sounds like a lot of other bands, including some notable ones that used to record for Washington's Dischord.

Such ploys as the call-and-response vocals of "Good Luck" -- which demand "I'm out of luck/Are you the same way?" -- and the whisper-to-a-shout dynamics are a lot emo-punk, a little bit arena-rock. Punk purists may object, but this combo does a pretty good job of conjuring Pedersen's feelings of stuck-ness.
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

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En Garde

En Garde

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