Cargo records [release date: 30.04.15]
With this second outing, The Crunch has become a bit more than a side project for a bunch of seasoned punk stalwarts who only got together for a book launch. Headline tours, film premieres and radio airplay (well, in Sweden anyway…) are all part of the band’s busy schedule right now.
‘Brand New Brand’ pretty much picks up where 2013’s ‘Busy Making Noise’ left off. This 12-track album is stuffed with big, lovable slabs of power pop, built around ridiculously catchy hooks, wrapped up in tightly-penned songs that don’t outstay their welcome.
Scratch a bit deeper though, and there’s a fraction more going on than it might at first appear. For a start, Idde Shultz has joined the band on a full time basis. Her influence can be heard all over the album. From some well-placed keyboard tinkling on opener ‘Lonely Beat of the Heart’ with it’s hand-clapping rhythms to sweet backing vocals that almost becomes a duet with Sulo (Diamond Dogs) on ‘Banner of Faith’.
Idde takes over lead vocals on the scuzzy, driving ‘Solid Rock Steady’ and her voice combines well Sulo who manages to combine both a gravelly growl and a nasal twang.
There is a wide range of reference points here too. Check out the reggae underpinning of the delicious ‘Neon Madonna’, the paint-stripping metal solo from Micky Geggus (Cockney Rejects) on ‘Limited Edition’, hints of rockabilly on the aforementioned ‘Banner of Faith’ and the thick glam groove that Dave Tregunna (Sham 69) and Terry Chimes (The Clash) lay down on ‘Brand New Brand’.
Sulo writes all the material here and the tight arrangements really pay off. ‘Seeing Is Believing’ could be a signature track for the band. It barely clocks in at 2 minutes 30 seconds and yet it features a chunky riff, layered guitar solos, an acoustic break, clever lyrics, sweeping synth strings and that ever-present killer hook. A gem.
The same goes for the good-time punk/pop slam of ‘Return to Form’ sandwiched between two ballads. The second of which, ‘Save The Glow’ is the better, cranking up vocal refrains and scything solos that will mow down the unwary.
This is refreshing, punchy stuff from The Crunch, played with relish and verve. Thoroughly enjoyable. More please. ****
Review by Dave Atkinson
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