Friday, May 27, 2011

Crud on Monster Island - Crud - 2010

The more I write about new music, the more that comes my way. It's an exponential payoff as, an admittedly jaded listener who figured not much new was worth too much attention, every now and then I come across something like Crud. And Crud is not quite like anything you'd guess. From photos, brief blurbs and their Motor City origins, I was expecting some version of Cramps via the Thrill Kill Kult. And while some of those elements exist, Crud is, despite their name, refreshingly new. Retro elements abound but they're decidedly in the now. Their sophomore release and latest record, Crud on Monster Island, has landed itself a permanent residency in my car stereo rotation for this summer - maybe even longer.

"Bomb Bomb" kicks off Crud on Monster Island and starts as deceptively simple electro-rock loop and quickly builds momentum around the simple she give me bomb bomb when she boom boom refrain. It's an immediately infectious head-bobber, if not outright danceable and, just when you think you've got Crud pegged out of the gate, some heavily distorted guitar is piled on and you realize you damn well may be dealing with a rock and roll band. "We'll Not Be Broken" opens with a lonely keyboard and progresses into a driving, brooding number with a vocal immediately reminiscent of Bowie and Iggy and I expect frontman Vinnie Dombroski may be destined for greatness. This track could - and should - be a massive radio hit. By the intro to "Balaam's Ass Speaks" it's evident that Crud is not following any thematic path. This is channel switching at its best, when each new selection is as compelling as the alternatives. A biblical donkey's plea - why do ya beat me?!? - bounces back and forth between Dombroski and female lead Danielle Arsenault in the one moment closest to the Kult yet, thanks to what has emerged as the distinctive voice of David Black's guitar, remains Crud's very own.

"Monster A Go Go" and "The Devil is a Patient Man" are nice mid-tempo groovers and instantly have the listener yearning for those end-of-the-'80s days when Wax Trax! and their contemporaries were churning out platter after platter of this flavor of dark disco. "I'll Be Damned" gives in to the sin so fast and furious that it demands the volume knob be cranked clockwise 'til it snaps: ...Hell can't hold me, Heaven don't own me...since I can't break you, the Devil can take you... This one is a monster, plain and simple.

"The Man Goes Down" opens with an Arsenault vocal as wonderfully filthy as you may suspect and belongs largely to the rhythm section comprised of Dana Forrester on bass and Leander Decordova on drums. This rock and roll train chugs along until 3:15 when a David Black solo erupts and sets the thing on fire. It's at this point I decided I needed to grab the first album by these guys and start spreading the word pronto.

Lucky for me, "Fire" takes another left turn and brings swinging horns into the mix, again recalling TKK's Hit & Run Holiday but still so brand new. These guitars are so much more menacing than anything since Nine Inch Nails' Broken EP. "Die with the Sinners" belongs equally to Danielle and Vinnie and is a strong, strong close, albeit one that feels as though it's come much too soon. Crud on Monster Island is a great album and one that deserves to be heard far and wide. This is fantastic dirty electronic rock that doesn't rely on gimmicks but instead is built on a solid foundation of talent and musical ability. I can only imagine the show these guys put on live (check their calendar here) and I may just have to head north on 75 to catch them in their element.

Crud's catalogue also features an entry from 2008, Devil at the Wheel, which, based on Crud on Monster Island, will be in my shopping cart very, very soon. In the meantime, check out samples from Crud on Monster Island and more at the band's website.


  1. They don't call it Detroit Rock City for nothin'!

  2. Crud Absolutely Rocks!!! Love the latest album

  3. Crud live is a must see!!!