Legal Records (label)
28 October 2013 (released)
27 October 2013
Since I reviewed the band’s debut single back in June, The Crunch have been busy making noise! That, by the way, is the name of their debut album. If the single release was impressive, than the album certainly cranks it up several notches!
Once again uniting the talents of frontman Sulo Karlsson (Diamond Dogs), Dave Tregunna (Sham 69, Lord Of The New Church, Mick Geggus (Cockney Rejects) and last but not least Terry Chimes (The Clash, Hanoi Rocks, Black Sabbath), the album – with some additional help from friends – offers 14 tracks bursting with feel-good energy and drive.
Title track (and opener) ‘Busy Making Noise’ leaves no doubt as to where this collective comes from, and what The Crunch philosophy is all about: “I’ve tried to study, tried to keep a decent job / But I’m just not that kind of guy… I really got no choice / We’ve got supersonic toys, too busy making noise with the boys.”
Sharp, short and full of punchy riffs and beats, the song’s infectious enthusiasm provides the platform for the remainder of the album.
‘Street Flavour’ with its pacy hooks and grooves has a damn catchy chorus that’s as pop as it is edgy. In a similar vein stands ‘Fire Again’ – the band’s second single release. It’s a melody-orientated affair albeit combined with punk attitude, and halfway through the song we get treated to some Spanish-style guitar interlude. You wouldn’t think it goes with the song, but it does. Ex-Cherry Bombz vocalist Anita Chellamah refuses to stay 100 degrees in the shade, and provides the track’s backing vocals.
I’ve already reviewed ‘Down By The Border’ and ‘Gangster Radio’ back in June, so if you want to know what I said about it, then please look it up in the Music-News Single Reviews section.
One of the album’s standout tracks has got to be ‘Yesterday’s Boys And Girls’ – a slow-paced and beautifully performed number that touches on nostalgic sentiments by asking “Did we get all that we wanted? Or was it all in vain.” Harmonious piano keys and smouldering guitar compliment the yearning for yesterday and memories of former glory. Kevin Porée on keys, and Scotty Mulvey on piano are the guest musician of choice here.
‘Looking For A Blaze’ – in arrangement at least – reminds me of Swedish power-pop outfit Casablanca. Great tune and all that comes with it, although this particular blaze never spins out of control for even one second.
A choppy rhythm is occasionally interspersed with blasting guitars, making ‘Remember Me Like That’ a deliberately restrained affair that perhaps needs to be played a few times to receive full appreciation.
If ever you wanted to hear a song about the constant recycling of musical styles and fads, then ‘A Matter Of Time’ is for you! Don’t look back, everything is coming back is a reflection on how contemporary music often lacks true inventiveness and originality, because one way or another we heard it all before. Thankfully, this particular song contains the best of the past and the best of the presence to allow it stand on its own ground, and nicely so!
Swedish singer Idde Schultz, who already provided backing vocals and keyboard sounds during the band’s summer tour, gets together with landsman Sulo for the refreshingly unpretentious duo ‘A Little Bit Of Grace’. The combined vocal and instrumental talents of Idde and Sulo result in fruitful, not to mention playful, chemistry. It prevents the number from turning into the usual ‘love, hurt, guilt, let’s give it another go’ drama-rama which one gets to hear on the radio all too often, and usually dripping with cheese and schmaltz.
‘Right About Now’ is another winner, catchy to the extreme and with a feel-good factor that sucks you in whether you like it or not. A great little romp for sure!
My personal favourite has got to be ‘Floodlight’ – a killer track that smacks of an irresistible retro guitar / keys sound, with lyrics to match: “The floodlights is glowing over the docklands / And the bright lights will guide me home / Across the river, that ever flowing water / In the floodlights where I belong – I’m never alone.” Ahhh, melts the heart of even the toughest seadog!
Close behind in the Favourites department lingers ‘Ruin Of A Heart’ – not only because of the genius lyric “Midnight sisters and borstal boys, come dance the night away”, but because the entire band delivers a positively encouraging ‘go for it’ message. Naturally, all is executed in the usual Crunch way, meaning combined fun in the recording studio as well as in the collective mind.
Closing track sees Mick Geggus’ Cockney Rejects brother Jeff Geggus donning a guest appearance and taking over lead vocal duties. As one might expect when two veteran punkers get together (well, three actually if Sham 69’s Dave Tregunna is taken into account), the result is decidedly edgy and hey, them boys sure can’t slow down. Scorching riffs almost bring the fuse to a blow, but just before it does blow… the song – in pure punk tradition – comes to an abrupt stop.
Top whack, and you’d be a fool not to give the album a listen!