Room to Play

Tijuana Crime Scene (Arise Records)

Change of Venue

By Kory Wilcoxson

I think I've been too conditioned by '90s music, because whenever I hear the kind of thick guitar laid down by Tijuana Crime Scene, I expect the guttural croon of Eddie Vedder or that dude from Creed to come crawling out. Instead, with TCS, we get the light, airy tones of a different kind of lead singer. It's like Charlotte Church fronting System of a Down.

OK, maybe not that extreme, but it's certainly not as heavy as expected, which isn't all bad. The vocals at times gets lost like a puppy amidst the heavy riffs of songs like "Bad Idea," but for the most part the singing provides a nice contrast and melds well with the rest of the band.

TCS, in the stable of the Shelbyville-based Arise Records, has enough range in its music to allow for some room to play. For evidence, witness the synthesizer on "Bad Idea" or the trippy piano underscoring "Summer of '87." And they have the creativity to follow the riff-driven pop of "Shout the Lights Out" with the melancholy "Forever Leaving."

The one drawback is that TCS is so diverse that there's not really a hook to hang on. I liked almost all the songs, but I didn't love any of them. Is that my problem or theirs? I'm not sure, but this 6-song EP certainly elicits hope for more to come.