Being a punk band in the new millennium is a fairly thankless job. For thirty years and more, fans and critics have pigeon-holed the genre to the point where there is no band that can possibly be a punk band. If the music fits preconceived notions, chances are the band members wear the wrong kinds of pants. If the look is right, they probably sound like NíSync with guitars. In a business where you canít please everybody, being in a punk band usually means youíve resigned yourselves to barely pleasing anyone, especially if youíre on a major label. Enter Virgin Records artists, Crash Radio.
Crash Radio kick off their album with the very catchy "So What," just solid pop-punk with ska leanings. The vocals sound great, the band is tight, the album is off to a great start. The next song starts with a good verse, chugging bass line under the vocals, but suddenly the rug gets pulled out. There is almost no melody to the chorus of "My Least Favorite Song," which is about getting a crappy pop song stuck in your head. But logically, this song should have had the worst candy-pop chorus for it to work. Yes, we all hate Celine Dion and "Titanic," but damn that song gets stuck in your head.
The rest of the album kinda sails on that way, good elements offset by lackluster melodies, driving intros with no song behind them, great synth lines trying to save songs that need saving. Album highlights include the radio friendly "This Time," which features some tasty guitar licks, a strong melody, and a chorus that will get stuck in your head, "Go Away," with a groovy 6/8, rolling bass line a good chorus hook, and the final track, "Breathe." With a spacey, underwater vibe on the verse, and a chorus that starts "I just canít breathe" the drowning motif is carried successfully through the song. Beyond that, the song is in 6/8, which always lends a sea-shanty vibe whenever itís used in this slow-rollicking manner. Basically, using this song to close the album is one of the most interesting choices made on this album.
All in all, the production on the album is spotless, with clean bass lines, tight drum sounds, and warm guitars. The vocals are all audible and crisply produced. There does tend to be a certain lack of energy over the album as a whole, but as a major label release, there were probably far more suits than studded-belts involved in the recording process. I would love to hear them live, and maybe check out demos theyíve made. Iím sure Crash Radio has the talentÖIím just not positive it was fully captured on this album.
Dustin Kreidler is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.