The new Crime & the City Solution album began life as a PhD application that came to life when the band’s core members’ nomadic lifestyle was put on pause by the pandemic. Simon Bonney and Bronwyn Adams found themselves stuck in their native Australia under one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. “Naturally”, says Simon, “I sat and I pieced together a PhD application about decision-making in Afghanistan in the late 80s. But as it turned out, it was actually more of a record than it was a PhD.”
The PhD and, in turn, the album found inspiration from Bonney’s work delivering aid programmes across the Indo-Pacific region. Through that work, he visited places with high levels of violence and the album, in part, acted as a way in which to process the effect that turmoil has had on his psyche, of the “dead bodies in my dreams” that he sings about in the title track. He explains, “There’s no mention of American decision-making in Afghanistan on the album, but in terms of subject matter, there’s a lot that’s pretty similar; a lot of the record is about loss of faith.”
Rather than a dramatic retelling – or glorification – of the things that Simon has experienced, the killer focuses on the way they manifest in the every day and the way humans operate under their shadow. “There’s a veneer of normalcy and civilization that people hold onto until they just can’t hold on anymore,” Simon says. “I’m interested in normalcy that exists within what we would consider to be extraordinary situations.”
While the idea came from Simon Bonney and Bronwyn Adams, the musical aspect was masterfully created by the combination of prolific artists that became the second Berlin lineup of Crime & the City Solution. Core members Simon Bonney and Bronwyn Adams were joined by Frederic Lyenn (piano, bass, synth), Donald Baldie (guitar), Georgio Valentino (synth, guitar), Chris Hughes (drums, percussion) and Joshua Murphy (piano, guitar), and for the first time they worked with a producer, Martin J. Fiedler, who also added synth and mellotron to the album.
“This lineup has a lot of chemistry now” – admits Simon Bonney. Touring for about a year before they embarked on the recording process has given them unique communication skills, “Crime [& the City Solution] will always be a live band and a band that likes to improvise, so getting to know each other and being able to communicate on a subconscious level is key to what makes our music special – we are at that place now” continues Bonney.
Crime & the City Solution live is more of a spiritual experience than a traditional performance, with the band reimagining each song at every show. “Live, the band, and subsequently, the songs became something entirely different and new, more a free-form, unpredictable and ever-changing entity than a rehearsed and pre-decided presentation.” – explains Joshua Murphy. According to the newer member, the live energy pushed the band to explore sounds and forms in an almost meditative state. Joshua says: “Songs with three verses suddenly had five, three-minute songs extended to fifteen, with sections added or left out, A pulsating babble of notes, textures, and soundscapes for Simon to tell his stories over.”
“That was true of all the lineups and from tour to tour. And the tradition continues in this incarnation. Songs from previous lineups will take on new personalities and meaning as this band interacts with them.”– explains Bonney. “The songs reflect and are informed by the time and place that they are played in – a conversation between the band and the band and the audience”.
the killer, Crime & the City’s sixth studio album, and their first in over a decade – is set for release via Mute on vinyl, CD and download on 20 October 2023.