Alien Crime Syndicate – Dust to Dirt

Alien Crime Syndicate
Dust to Dirt

Do you remember The Meices? I do. They were one of those bands that always appeared on this compilation or another, that contributed a song to the occassional soundtrack for some hip film. Their poppy, punky, rock sound was infectious yet crisp and highly potent. Every song was fun and riotous and catchy. If you remember the band fondly as I do, take heart that Meices frontman Joe Reineke is back with his new band, Alien Crime Syndicate.

Alien Crime Syndicate was signed to a major label in 98 but, as we hear about all too often, was a victim to labels merging and changing staff. They bounced around a while and finally releases Dust to Dirt, the band’s first album. In my mind, those years of indecision did the band a world of good, for as a new band, this group is remarkably tight. You get the feel that they’ve been playing forever. And while their style of power-pop is a bit given to the late 90’s, their spacey keyboards and perfect vocals give these songs a more modern rock sound.

The album starts off perfectly, with the rocking and poppy “Take Me To Your Leader,” a fast-paced and slightly crunchy rock song with some cool keyboards providing a spacey feel to the song. Even more catchy is “What I Said,” a song that’s slightly grungy, slightly poppy, and blaring rock, with some incredible guitar lines. “Outerspace” is suitably quirky, with keyboard bleeps and odd beats all underlying a very cool and slightly more somber rock song, defined by some of the best bass I’ve heard on a rock song. This one would be a big arena hit, if the band ever landed an arena gig. Just to mix things up, “Some Kind of Way” is a slower track with acoustic guitar, space/surf guitar, and killer bass. Holy cow, this is the best song on the album, without a doubt. “I Want It All” is almost cute in its poppy nature, at times sounding almost Dismemberment Plan-ish, other than the thick, crunchy guitars. And “Tripping Up to the Clouds” demonstrates that the band’s modern power-rock sound is right-on, powerful and catchy while setting aside a bit of the pop they like to do for a more crunchy and harmonizing sound.

Well, if that was more rocking, “Nothing Beats the Surf In” is a loud, poppy song, power-pop all the way, playful and echoey and fun, with fantastic percussion. “Pimpin’ The Land” is another favorite, more punkish than most of the others with some great harmonies and attitude. “Here With You” uses some great bass but is overwhelming pop, with plenty of harmonies and backing vocals, while “Change” (not on the CD) seems to show the band getting more serious, with a more mid-tempo pace and some cool, spacey keyboards. The closer, “Atmosphere,” is almost groovy, with tons of bass, smooth percussion, and probably the best-fitting vocals yet. This song is so damn cool.

I was lucky enough to get a vinyl copy of this release, done on groovy purplish vinyl and with a special, non-CD track as mentioned above. Sometimes, vinyl is worth the slight inconvenience. This band is so damn tight, so precise in their unique power-pop/rock sound, it’s hard to tell I’m listening to vinyl. Catchy, powerful, at times fun and at times kick-ass, Alien Crime Syndicate pick up where The Meices left off and take the sound to a new level. Great stuff!