Neo-prog heroes Crime in Choir waste no time blasting straight beyond the atmosphere with “Gift Givers,” their fourth full-length and first for the upstanding young Kill Shaman label. The San Fran quintet, which features members of At the Drive-In and The Fucking Champs, starts this release off with a not-so-subtle display of fireworks. The first track (also called “Gift Givers”), with its disco-jazz vibe and incredibly tight arrangement is explosive, yet also extremely fun to listen to, setting the scene for the six tracks that follow.
The album as a whole shifts from having a full-throttle prog-rock intensity to sporting a sexy 1980's soundtrack vibe (“Round Air Copy”) before heading in a more sinister, ambient direction on “Jealous Dancing Days.” The epic “Fool's Guild” is a clever blend of all the preceding motifs – leaning more toward the ambient end of the spectrum – and serves as a perfect closing track. Overall, “Gift Givers” is a precisely balanced album, steeped in prog yet refreshingly subtle.
8/10 -- Bryon Hayes (23 September, 2009)