The piano melody that signals the start of White Collar Crime’s “To Be Real,” one of two songs that they’re releasing ahead of their latest record 30 Years In The New York Rain, is glittery and bright, adorned with a gentle drumbeat that persists through the whole of the track. A soft lead vocal joins the patient groove with a lush lyric and a lightly overdriven guitar, and before we know it, White Collar Crime have conjured up a churning harmony that is as big as an ocean tidal wave. The rhythm of the track rises and falls with a simplistic ease, and while this song is a bit more complicated in structure than its counterpart “Dream the Dream” is, the two artistically complement each other more than it would appear they could on paper.
Though “To Be Real” is a really conventional ballad from a compositional point of view, it doesn’t fail to impart a passionate energy from its players thanks to its supremely tight master mix. To be frank, the same can be said about the production quality of “Dream the Dream,” though the bones of this second track are lot more complex than the first are. “Dream the Dream” fuses elements of retro rock guitar and stirring alternative pop vocal hooks together in a cocktail of harmony and sophisticated tension, and though it gets to be rather suffocating in the buildup to the chorus, its climactic release is a shot of catharsis arguably unlike any other White Collar Crime have recorded before.
Both “To Be Real” and “Dream the Dream” see White Collar Crime continuing their quest to make accessible, easygoing indie rock with a heartfelt pop core, and if you’ve been following the band for any part of their thirty year journey, these tracks should be considered required listening this December. 30 Years In The New York Rain drops this February, and something tells me that while it contains plenty of material the group has already played for us before, its new content is going to afford their sound even more respect than it has already commanded in the past. White Collar Crime are veterans of the game, but they’re rolling like young rockers on a mission in this duo of tenacious new tunes.