Here’s another outstanding record from Bearded Punk Records archives and probably the most unusual one in their catalog. Being known for its melodic punk rock/skate punk/pop-punk aesthetics, this prolific Belgian record label made quite an experiment with this album but nailed it once again. Perhaps the Bliss LP by Decent Criminal strays from the label’s concept a little bit, but it represents a tremendous recording that carries the comprehensive collection of various genres, thoroughly combined into polyphonous harmony. This experiment is not necessarily a bad thing. Quite the contrary, it comes as a bit of refreshment. Decent Criminal is a Californian alternative rock quartet emanating from Santa Monica, and Bliss is their third full-length material. Previously, the group released a couple of recordings, such as a self-titled album and Bloom LP. Besides these two, the group also recently recorded a self-titled EP.
I used the alternative rock as a starting point, but the sound of Decent Criminal is unquestionably more complex than you might notice after the first listening. Their music carries more details than meets the eye, and these compositions need repetitious spinning before you realize the brilliance of Decent Criminal. Bliss includes eleven profoundly delicate numbers, thoroughly planned and performed to perfection. Besides the notable presence of alternative rock, you may also stumble upon some power pop, indie pop, indie rock, pop-punk, and grunge. Each ingredient plays a significant role on this material, but alternative rock and power pop are two crucial ingredients that are continuously lurking around. These two genres articulate in some specific manner that appeals to the listening apparatus like a charm. Both alternative rock and power pop are responsible for the beautiful atmosphere of this album. However, you should also pay attention to other details hidden beneath the dominant, nearly reverby atmosphere.
The other elements provide more sonic delicacies through cleverly planned orchestrations, occasional accentuations, and intelligent arrangements. The entire material bursts with pleasing echoic melodies, so characteristic for power pop or dream pop music, but nearly robust rhythm structure keeps this material in alternative rock waters. Some chord progressions may resemble some indie rock or pop-punk maneuvers, so it seems Decent Criminal were inspired by early 00s music during the songwriting, composing, and recording process. Decent Criminal also infused some fuzzy grunge distortion, but this layer of noise is so sophisticated you won’t even hear it in the first place. The leading chants lean towards classic pop-punk/power-pop vocal acrobatics. Therefore, these singing technics nicely match the beforementioned aesthetics of the group.
Decent Criminal thoroughly planned every segment of this full-length, so you will solely enjoy these tunes if you’re profoundly into the abovementioned genres. Bliss comes in solid purple and pink splatter vinyl variants, but this tremendous album is also available on compact disc. Head over to
Bearded Punk Records or Wiretap Records for more information about ordering.