The debut LP by rock band Crossing I’s Dotting T’s is a grunge-filled love letter to bands like Deftones, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. I Used To Be has a variety of song types, and more often than not, it hits its intended target. When I last sat down with the lead vocalist from the band, I could tell that his core influences would likely bleed into the band’s debut album. From the soft-loud dynamic found on a Deftones-esque track, called “Far Away,” to the collaborative single with Have Mercy on “Cheap Beers & IOUs,” Crossing I’s Dotting T’s make a memorable first step in the music scene.
The album opens with the electric-charged energy of “Would You Speak?” that rocks along like an early Foo Fighters song, paired with drowned out vocals much like My Bloody Valentine. The well-timed screams in the chorus showcase a band willing to move the needle in their creative process. The down-trodden doom rock of “All Feelings Aside” is a curious choice of a second track since it loses some of the early momentum found on the introductory track. The uplifting chorus prevents the song from bottoming out in the darkness.
The Alice in Chains-esque “Hard To Breathe” features some crunchy guitar riffing and a pulsating bass line throughout the song. The vocals remind me a bit of early-Thrice paired with the emotive energy of Smile Empty Soul. “November Cold” follows in the sequencing with a somber song about the changing of seasons and the feelings that can flood our headspace during these difficult and dark days ahead.
The album really picks up its momentum on songs like “Overworked and Underused,” that pumps along with a punk rock, raw energy. The sequencing on I Used To Be is a little out of sorts since “Nothing Left.” brings the tempo back down after the previous barn-burner. Luckily the band gets their footing back quickly on the collaborative single with Have Mercy, that reminded me a lot of what Barely Civil went for on their sophomore record. The emotive vocals on “Cheap Beers & IOUs” are very much in line with what The Ataris did well on their records, and this song is well-worth the price of admission by itself.
“A Word Away” closes out the first chapter of Crossing I’s Dotting T’s debut that wears its influences clearly on its sleeve. While the track sequencing leaves a little bit to be desired, there are still more solid songs than not to be found on their first full-length effort.