You’re Doomed. Be Nice. is Rob Crow’s first album since his heavily-publicized withdrawal from music – specifically the toxic byproducts of the lifestyle of a touring professional musician attempting to survive in an industry of diminishing returns. Rather than perform, record, and mix every note himself – a trademark of his previous solo endeavors – Crow formed Gloomy Place, a band made up of close friends that includes another member of the beloved Heavy Vegetable. Recorded and mixed by Ben Moore (Hot Snakes), You’re Doomed presents a fascinating dichotomy: dynamic, eclectic prog-pop backing alarmingly confessional, often acerbic lyrical themes. This juxtaposition makes for an album of confrontational yet accessible songs filled with wry wit and emotional depth.
Whereas Crow’s previous solo endeavors acted primarily as low-key stop-gaps between Pinback albums, the stakes are markedly higher here – and it shows in both the depth of songwriting and impressively labyrinthian performances. Gone are the 60-second blink-and-you-missed-them acoustic sketches that became a staple of Crow’s solo albums; You’re Doomed is filled with the kind of thoughtful attention to detail and craft that was a hallmark of Pinback’s legendary catalog.
You’re Doomed. Be Nice. is the diamond carved out of a particularly rough chunk of Rob Crow’s life – one that’s either the first gem of an inspired second act, or the culmination of an undeniably influential career. In either case, the quality of its cut will last a lifetime.