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The Mohawk Lodge – Crimes album review

The Mohawk Lodge – Crimes

written by Terri-Ann Thomas

The world needs an album like, “Crimes,” because who hasn’t felt like punching out a friend for f*cking your lover? According to a press release, this is indeed what The Mohawk Lodge’s third album, Crimes, was inspired by. And ladies and gentlemen these guys don’t just talk the talk; they walk it, which is why White Whale Records founder Ryder Havdale (lead singer), was charged with this exact crime (fully rehabilitated now, I’m sure). So what better way to express these feelings than vocalizing them on an 11-track album that the rest of the world can relate to?

With albums like, Wildfires, The Mohawk Lodge is known for their melodic openers and sensible lyrics. They don’t stray far from that. Crimes is more than just an album, it’s a collection of well thought out melodies, accompanied by beautiful vocal arrangements that tell a story of petty crimes, betrayal, pain, and loneliness. It’s every broken hearted person’s companion and soundtrack to their life. Not to fear though, the story has a happy ending.

It starts off with, “Bad News,” which sets a somber tone and stays true to its title, “Until she revealed to me, bad news.” Ryder Havdale’s gritty voice meshes well as he sings the lines, “Across the river’s edge is where she lays her head.” It’s a clever choice for an album opener because the song itself is a hook lead; it grabs hold of your attention almost forcing you to continue listening.

The tale continues on with heavy drumming and bass guitar in, “Cold Hearts.” It’s not as somber, although the title may seem to suggest otherwise. It’s definitely a grungier vibe. It gives hope to the broken hearted with the simple lines, “I won’t let your love get the best of me.” At this point in the story, you can start wiping your tears and cheering up a little.

Even heavier on the drums and guitar, “Crime Of Passion,” allows you to really rock out while listening. You can hear the frustration and hurt in Havdale’s voice as he recalls his crime of passion, “The last thing I remember I was running for my life.” The instruments are what stand out the most and the background vocals (or more accurately, shouts and screams) give it edge. The quiet breaths as the music fades are also a nice touch (although for some, it may just be creepy).

One thing that the band didn’t do with this album was sugar coat anything. They didn’t clean up their language in hopes of not offending anyone; they gave nothing but real and raw emotion. Songs like, “Games,” have a no bullsh*t policy, in less than two minutes he tells it like it is, “I was never into playing games.” More bluntly, the lines, “You f*cked with my head, in my bed baby every night,” are what’s left ringing in your ear.
Another stand out track on this album is, “Done Fighting.” Never mind the mere perfection of the title (on a CD about crimes of passion), this song sums it all up in three words, “I’m done fighting.” It’s one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. In the second verse, you hear what almost sounds like Havdale’s voice cracking (as he sings, “breaking up, to f*ck around”), which gave it such impact. He sang his heart out. The group members chime in to emphasize the words in the chorus and you can almost picture them at a live performance with the audience simultaneously chanting, “I’m done fighting,” (accompanied by fist pumps and head bops).

“Let Go,” equipped with female vocals (by Leah Abramson), is a beautiful ballad about losing someone and not knowing why, “Why do you want to let go of me? Is it something you wanna see?” Abramson mimics Havdale’s vocals and the collaboration is genius. “Days When You Die,” borders on an old soulful vibe (John Lennon would be proud), just the first few lines, “Oh my love, there will be days when you die,” although saddening, are so striking. Like a John Lennon masterpiece, the vibe is so somber, but so beautiful you can’t help but love it. “Oh little pretty, oh little one, where have they gone? Days when you can’t find anyone.” For anyone who’s ever felt alone, this is your anthem.

Wrapping up their story, “Wicked Nights (Canadian Girl),” is probably the fastest paced song on the album. The love story (with all it’s twists and turns) finally ends well. Your heart gets broken but soon after you meet someone else that serves as your “pick me up.” Canadians everywhere (especially females) can give themselves a pat on the back knowing a Canadian girl is responsible for Havdale’s crimeless life (assuming she doesn’t f*ck him over too). The track ends with the strumming of guitar strings and Havdale’s vocals (along with his band members), “Lives move on, the hearts beat down, the dreams are forever young.” Ending the story on a high note. Bravo Mohawk Lodge, bravo.

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