I would tell you that Crime & the City Solution are the like the Australian Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, only Nick Cave and most of the Bad Seeds are also Australian, so that isn’t very helpful. Both groups hail from Melbourne, both shared members during the ’80s and ’90s, and both groups spent time in both Berlin and London during that period, before Crime & the City Solution disbanded. (So I guess they’re like the way less famous half brother of the Bad Seeds?) Bonney has a bit of a reputation in some circles as the Poor Man’s Nick Cave, too, but he has a distinct voice and his band’s singer-songwriter-meets-post-punk sound is actually fairly distinct from the ’80s Bad Seeds even if that description says otherwise.
Crime & the City Solution reunited in 2012 and put out their first album of new material in 23 years in 2013, but haven’t put out anything since, until this new cover of The Doors‘ third single “People Are Strange.”
If anything, they lean into the moodiness of the original. There’s a Dark Cabaret carnival going in the background, behind Bonney’s voice. Bonney speak-sings the lyrics (as he often does) and he is accompanied by a faint woman’s voice on the later verses and chorus. The piano solo is replaced by sound effects that are like the goth version of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.”
Though the band approach the song conventionally in terms of the melody, it’s the carnivalesque backing arrangement that is worth the price of admission. And it’s a nice reminder that one the ’80s more idiosyncratic performers is still out there, doing his thing.