New York City-based indie-rock outfit White Collar Crime will release a retrospective album, entitled 30 Years In The New York Rain, on February 29. The album features four new studio tracks, five previously released songs, and three live performances at the Triad Theater.
As an appetizer for the album, the band just released a two-track EP, providing listeners a foretaste of what’s to come.
The band’s genesis occurred in the ‘80s, when four attorneys from eminent Manhattan law firms assembled in a dilapidated space near The Port Authority and began rehearsing. Like Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter during the day, the attorneys filed lawsuits for big clients in daylight hours, while moonlighting as rock musicians at night, performing in venues such as Kenny’s Castaways, The Bitter End, Cutting Room, and Knitting Factory.
Recognized as “the lawyer band,” only two of the original members are still active – Matt King (guitar) and Alan Sanders (drums). ‘New’ members include David Gelman (keyboards), Kevin Mackall (bass), and Andrea Urban (vocals), along with Jon Bendist (guitar).
King explains the band’s longevity, “I can’t emphasize enough the sense of community that White Collar Crime has created, and the amazing number of friends that music has given us. We’ve evolved from a rough unpolished band to seasoned musicians who are successful by day yet quite accomplished on the stage and in the recording studio.”
White Collar Crime debuted November 9, 1989, on the day the Berlin Wall came down. Since then, their music has been featured on Lifetime TV’s The Place, Fox Cable News, and hit the Top 30 on college radio stations. The band’s sound has been likened to Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Counting Crows, a blend of Springsteen and Dire Straits, as well as paralleling Lou Reed and J.J. Cale.
“Dream the Dream” opens on low-slung guitars riding a finessed rhythm made up of crisp drums and a throbbing bassline. Smooth and glistening with stylish guitar accents, the melody is reminiscent of Dire Straits, persuasive and velvety.
Deliciously laid-back vocals infuse the lyrics with rasping tones, along with the cashmere timbres of Andrea Urban’s scrumptious voice.
“To Be Real” travels on an elegant piano topped by gently gleaming guitars flowing into a lushly layered soft-rock tune. Glowing breakdowns, full of sparkling piano notes and an oozing organ, shift the harmonics, and then return to a silky current.
Tender, nostalgic vocals imbue the lyrics with tantalizing surface colors, nuanced and subtle, yet penetrating.
White Collar Crime has it going on, delivering polished rock and roll replete with shimmering sonic textures and cashmere vocals.
White Collar Crime release show: Bitter End, February 29, 8pm.