A + Electric
For all the CDs this reviewer receives in the mail, there’s seldom anything to get excited about. And not to be a pessimist, but the more unknown a band (pick any random name here: The Protracted Squirrels, John’s Carnival of Descent, One Flew Over the Hobo’s Chest, Desirous of Furious), the less likely they will be worth their weight in salt. Of course, this makes it all the more exciting and spirit lifting when an obscure group’s CD comes in the mail that you can truly enjoy. Enjoyable easily describes Crushstory, a band that might prove as refreshing for indie rock as Creeper Lagoon and the best of the post-Pavement camp.
A + Electric is full of delectable hooks and well-placed turns of musical phrasing. With all the electric piano and some of the upbeat guitar work, this record resembles the cheerful, mid-’90s pop of Zumpano. The vocals have the decided echo of Elvis Costello in them, which works very well. Track one, “Let’s [Action],” gets high marks both for possibly being a cryptic reference to the great Let’s Active and for the way the vocalist evokes the provocative, yearning Costello. There are other affinities between Crushstory and said nerdy pop icon. Most of the songs on A + Electric keep to Costello’s “brevity is better” formula, and rarely wear out their welcome or try your patience. In this regard, Crushstory understands what good pop is about: if you can pack verse, chorus, verse and phenomenal bridges into a short song, it’s not necessary to go over 3:30. (Maybe tracks 11 and 12, weighing in at 6:03 and 6:59, respectively, represent momentary lapses in reason. Is there any great need for an indie jam band?) Nevertheless, Crushstory’s A + Electric is a solid record. Here’s a group that•s definitely worthy of much wider attention.
Popkid Records, PMB 182, 41 Watchung Plaza, Montclair, NJ 07042-4117, http://www.popkid.com