Kerry Pastine & The Crime Scene – City Of Love
Wipe It Off! – 2019
12 tracks; 47 minutes
Kerry Pastine was born and raised in Denver, CO and still calls the city home. She started out in big band jump blues outfit The Informants before setting up The Crime Scene. City Of Love is the band’s third album and they pride themselves on making vintage music for the modern age. Kerry wrote six songs for the album and involved Mark Richardson, with whom she played in The Informants, to provide five more songs and add keyboards. The final song is a cover of a BB King tune. Kerry is on vocals and percussion, Pauly Six is on guitar, Troy Robey on bass and Andrew ‘AJ’ Knight on drums. Both rhythm men also contribute some keyboards and backing vocals come from Cass Clayton and Jessica Rogalski. The album was recorded and produced in Denver by Kerry’s husband Paul Shelloe.
Opening track “Goin’ For Broke” opens with Kerry singing over enthusiastic ‘come on, here we go’ shouts and slashing guitar chords before the rhythm section joins in on a solid shuffle with piano accents, Kerry clearly ‘all in’ for this new relationship. The echoey guitar on “Leanin’ In” gives the tune a retro sound with hints of rockabilly and Kerry sings well as she confesses that “there will be nothing like leanin’ into your love”; bongos and piano give a jagged rhythm to Kerry’s portrayal of “Singapore Downbeat” and Pauly picks that tone up in his solo work, an interesting track; the title track calls for more love in this world, given a dramatic style by the dominant drums. Kerry sounds like some classic female singers of the past on “Rain Or Shine” as she delivers a dynamic lead over Mark’s steady piano and Pauly’s guitar embellishments – think Peggy Lee or Etta James on this one. Kerry’s final writing contribution is “Under Your Spell” which has a latin rhythm and nice double bass giving the tune a lighter touch as Kerry describes falling under the guy’s spell: “I let you take me to the other side, a thrill of a ride on a stallion so wild. You’re bad, they say, but they can’t take my man away ‘cos I like the high, I like the high just fine”.
Mark’s songs show a more eclectic range of styles. “Ragin’” and “Crawl” sit together mid-album: the former starts with distorted vocals over distant guitar before developing into a chug with the drums remaining heavy but rather distant in the mix; the latter has a garage rock feel with the drums way back compared with the guitar and the 60’s sounding organ. “All Night Long” is in similar vein with a spiky feel while “Down Down” has a Delta feel courtesy of slide guitar and marching drums, Kerry sounding suitably unhappy with life, a strong cut. “Tears Of Heartache” is rather the odd one out of Mark’s songs being a soulful ballad with a good vocal. The BB King cover is “My Baby’s Comin’ Home” which is in a style that is different to most of what is on offer here but may hark back to Kerry and Mark’s time in The Informants. The song was written by BB and Fats Washington and was the ‘A’ side of a 1962 Paramount single and the band do a very good version to close the album.
Overall this album is something of a mixed bag, some songs more to this reviewer’s tastes than others. The up side is that it should thereby appeal to a wide audience and will certainly be well received by existing fans of the band.