Album Review: Crossed Keys – Believes In You

Things have been strange lately, right? It can get lost in the day to day but if you take a second and reflect on the last three years, it’s truly unbelievable. There was a pandemic, political and social unrest, a brutal war, an unbearable housing market, and the list goes on. All of this is not lost on Philadelphia’s own Crossed Keys, back with their debut full-length assuring all listeners that the band Believes In You.

This was a fun one for me, a product of South Central Pennsylvania and one who is generally always drawn to the sounds originating in Philadelphia. Believes In You starts with the anthemic opener “Victim Complex.” A driving, relentless punk tune addressing abusers and bullies and any non-decent person who makes life harder for others while claiming to be some victim in this world. “Victim Complex” is my favorite on the record because it immediately sets the listener up for the main theme of the album: teaming up as a collective to just face the universal hurt and simply attempt to make it through together. 

Teamwork seems to be a focus outside of the lyrical themes as well. Believes In You was tracked at Retro City Studios in Philadelphia with Andy Clarke (Spirit of the Beehive, The Wonder Years) and Dave Klyman (Restorations) as well as Salad Days Studio with Brian McTernan (Hot Water Music, Strike Anywhere). The record was mixed by Steve Evetts (Saves The Day, Dillinger Escape Plan) and then sent back to Andy Clarke for mastering. The layout came to life with some help from local photographers as well as Justin Gray (Suicide Machines, MXPX). All of this to say that Believes In You was held in the hands of many people spanning influences across the scene – and I think that is all heard in the final product.

Sonically, I’m hearing a refreshing melting pot of familiar sounds. I hear The Get Up Kids all over “Film Score” and “Who We Never Were” as well as catchy pop-punk such as Goldfinger (maybe minus the ska) and Sum 41 on “RIP Arch Street.” Vocally, I hear The Mountain Goats and The Weakerthans in delivery and cadence all throughout the record. 

Believes In You is comforting, empathetic, encouraging, and downright energetic. I hear honesty in addressing self-doubt and anxiety when singer Joshua Alvarez admits “I need an ounce of kindness, a little saving grace, a little more forgiveness” on “If You Don’t Love Yourself.” I then hear the cathartic pep talk immediately after as he belts out “we have to stop running from time, we have to face ourselves” on “Film Score.” The record constantly tells the listener it understands, and also, you’re not alone in whatever weird feelings you may have today.

It really is a record that will feel like an old friend stopping by to pick you up off the ground. It scratches an itch that I feel is missing lately. The reminder that, hey, these past few years have kind of messed us all up. It’s not an answer to it all but it sure does believe we can get through it together.

Believes In You is out everyone on 5/5 but you can hear the latest single, “Vina Park,” below:


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