Crash Pad

Crash Pad

High Gain Villains

Raw and raucous punk rock n’ roll straight outta Gainesville! Crash Pad play a brand of punk all too few bands are playing these days, one that’s mindful of the roots of punk rock — and of rock n’ roll — while still being distinctive enough to sound original, and with just enough snot-nosed attitude to make it ring true. High Gain Villains is packed with great tunes that are catchy and hooky without being overly poppy — this ain’t no Sum41, folks; Crash Pad could teach those kids more than a few things.

Best of all, the band is utterly fearless. Nothing is sacred. They’ve got cojones enough to cheekily take on Media Play (“One Hundred Dollars”) and artfag intelligencia (the Andy Warhol-mocking “Fifteen Minutes” married with a fascinating cover of Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” that starts out almost respectful before kicking in the nitro tanks and rocketing off triple-speed); to lead the cheer for androgyny (the fantastic shout-along “TS/TV”); and to write love songs to blow-up dolls (“Emergency Gurl”). Even musically, they take some daring chances; they’re not married to the notion that you have to slavishly adhere to one sound to be punk, and few so-called punk bands would have the guts to do something as interesting as “Don’t Try This at Home,” with its bluesy harmonica and rollicking banjo picking. Yet they’re still mature enough to address more serious topics in “Cops & Punks” and get introspective on tunes like “Variations on a Flame” and “Down (On Me).”

All in all, a great punk rock record that doesn’t forget the “rock” part of its genre. Far from being “villains,” Crash Pad might just be my new heroes.

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