Tuesday, April 8, 2014

#BloodBrothers by Käptain Krünçh Cîdz

Grade: 6.0

1. Nightmare
2. Bloodshot Eyes and an Existential Crisis
3. It'z Krunch Time
4. Fall's End
5. Blood Brothers

Disclaimer: I am friends with the guys that made this album. In fact, they write for this blog. That bias exists but I want to make sure you all realize that I am attempting to be very objective as I review this.

This album drips of adolescence, and that's both a strength and a weakness. Its bio on Bandcamp is very short and admits of the band's inexperience. It says that it is the group's first release That's really quite evident. The general lack of direction is annoying at times because it is difficult to get inside the artists' heads, but its also intriguing- mysterious almost.

The songs are placed in a very logical order, but there is no continuity to the piece. The songs all flow well musically, but when it comes to the lyrical content of the songs, the listener is left confused. I'd almost say that it needs to be longer- that it needs a few filler songs that will better fuse the album together and give it some direction. Truly, there are a lot of shitty songs on a lot of great albums which both propel the lyrical narrative and give skin to the bones of the thematic skeleton established by the album's high points. With that being said, understand that this criticism is not that serious. It's very hard to give a 5 track album the strength of a full-length album. I wonder why Käptain Krünçh Cîdz didn't label this as an EP; that's really what it is.

There is a specific sound to each of the songs. I'd like to make note of the influences that I noticed throughout.

1. Nightmare- Queens of the Stone Age, The Clash, Soundgarden
2. Bloodshot Eyes and an Existential Crisis- Animal Collective
3. It'z Krunch Time- Modest Mouse
4. Fall's End- Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Rise Against, Joy Division
5. Blood Brothers- Animal Collective (Avey Tare)

Other influences that showed throughout: Metallica, Black Sabbath

The first track starts slowly and disjointedly, and then builds to erratic mayhem. When the vocals come in, things calm down a bit. Adrian Sprague's voice has a lot of character and he's capable of achieving many different ranges and styles. In this song the vocals remain calm and almost sadly apathetic. Think of the calloused melody of a grizzled punk vocalist's voice. It's a very strong start. 

Then comes the second track, whose lengthy, pathological title perfectly labels the erratic rhythm of the song. It meanders a bit too long- as do all of the songs on the album. They aren't particularly long, but it seems to take them a while to get where they're going. However, whenever the vocals do come in, there's no build up to them. They began and then they stay the same for the entirety of the song. This is particularly true on the second track, but it's also true on the other tracks. Kasey's vocals on this track are very, very emotional. He squeals... Almost wheezes out the incomprehensible lyrics to the song. That seems like a negative description, but in this song I think it works very well. As stated previously, he reminds me a lot of Avey Tare in this track and the last track. 

Track three is really where the album starts to fall apart. The first two songs are very solid and I like them a lot. They establish a very distinct style for the group. Track three is essentially an interlude. It's very short, it has no vocals, and it leads to track four fairly well. The problem with this song is that an EP does not need an interlude. An EP should not fuck around. It should get straight to the point and have less-than-perfect transitions. If an EP flowed from one song to the next flawlessly, the entire album would sound like one long, fucking song. Often times tracks with interludes sound like this on full-length albums, but the albums are long enough to support the illusion. I just see no need for such a short, pointless track on this album. 

Track four really doesn't need an interlude. It's quite solid on it's own. If Käptain Krünçh Cîdz had a large collection of songs, I really think that this would be the quintessential one. It meanders a lot and really keeps you guessing. The vocals come on suddenly and don't abate until the end of the song. Adrian rasps and moans like the bastard child of Billie Joe Armstrong and Ian Curtis. It's really good. Most music critics believe that Joy division spawns the punk movement. The vocals in this track help prove this and meld the two styles in a very artful manner. 

The final track attempts to slow things down a bit as the album comes to a close. It doesn't really do this well. It almost seems as if there was a lot that the listener missed out on. This album really feels like an LP. It has long instrumental portions and a senseless interlude. It's almost as if someone truncated a full-length album and released the first six songs. 

Once again, the album is short and it is clearly difficult to develop the theme of a short album. With that being said, there is evidence of a lot of boredom, teen angst, and introspection in the lyrics of the piece. this strengthens my opinion that the whole album needs to be developed more fully. 

Stray observations: 
  • Punk musicians are pissy, and generally they relish in telling us all about it. The angst present in this piece seems rather unarticulated. The listener is left to wonder what the musicians are pissed about. 
  • I heard very subtle (but deep-seated) 80's hard rock sounds. I may be judging this incorrectly, but I kind of feel like most people in a rock bands have been influenced by bands like Metallica and Black Sabbath. That's not exactly my cup of tea though, so it's hard for me to say with much confidence. 
  • I know that it makes me pretentious, but I think that the hash-tag in the title is gimmicky.  
  • They did name your own price on Bandcamp! That's badass!