The Crunch: Busy Making Noise (Legal Records)
Out 28th October 2013
‘Post punk supergroup’ isn’t a label that sits well. Too lazy a tag, too high an expectation? Now they’ve got a new album out and Martin Haslam checks it out.
When The Crunch released their debut single in June, ‘Down By The Border’, many magazines were glowing with praise. The line-up of Mick Geggus, Dave Tregunna, Terry Chimes and Sulo Karlsson do have a rich back catalogue between them, so I’m loathe to admit that it didn’t set my world alight. ‘Nice song’ I thought. Is that enough though? I don’t think Pursey, Bators, Strummer or Turner would have settled for ‘nice’.
Now, the good news. ‘Busy Making Noise’ has FAR better songs on it. Phew! I’m a particular fan of Mr Tregunna’s previous work, so really wanted to find something to enjoy here, and by comparison the debut single sounds like mates having some fun, finding their feet and seeing if it could gel into something more substantial. Mercifully, it has.
The sound is more ‘power-pop’ than ‘punk-pop’ and, as we’re all maturing, that suits the songs just fine. The title track kicks off proceedings in a breezy fashion. I’m no technical whizz, but it seems to take a couple of songs before they nail the drum sound. Given that this is THE Terry Chimes, I’m a bit surprised. A pleasant surprise here is what a good guitarist Mick Geggus is; the songs are held together by his riffs and solos which are snappy, melodic and memorable.
‘Street Flavour’ is a short, snappy song with one eye on the past and a nod to where they’re from; “you can run forever, but you’ll never get away from the past”. This genuinely sounds like they’re having a blast.
‘Fire Again’ starts well but it is another ‘nice’ one; sweet guitars but the chorus does not ignite as it could (pun sadly intended). The acoustic break points where it could have gone. A song of two halves.
In context, ‘Down By The Border’ actually sounds better than I remember. The backing vocals have a hint of The Clash, as does the skank riff. Sulo wrote all the songs here and while there’s nothing wrong with his voice, the spectre of such strong frontmen hangs heavy.
‘Yesterday’s Boys And Girls’ is a touching ballad perhaps because Sulo isn’t following someone else’s sound; he feels more at home here and it gives the song real pathos.
‘Looking For A Blaze’ starts with a melody that echoes Thin Lizzy, before launching into the main song. Simple and effective, I’d like to hear it live.
‘Remember Me Like That’ slows the pace again. Backwards, sitar-like guitars and a lyric of regret; “I hope you will forgive what I am about to do”. It’s easy to forget that English isn’t Sulo’s first language.
‘Gangster Radio’ would indeed sound good on the radio; has Planet Rock played this yet? ‘A Matter Of Time’ brings back the reggae/rock fusion. A good, catchy song, but the bass could be higher in the mix.
”A Little Bit Of Grace’ benefits from the duet with Idde Schultz; the warring couple at their wits end. “I did all I could just to make you love me”. It’s a favourite here.
‘Right About Now’ brings the rifftastic Geggus to the fore again before we get a reflective moment with ‘Floodlight’. Understated Hammond organ and a pensive lyric.
‘Ruin Of A Heart’ is another radio-friendly short song. Well, I live in hope of not continually spinning the dial.
‘Runaway Son’ closes the album, with Jeff Turner sharing the vocals; “got to blow the fuse and set it all free”. A stinging Geggus solo and a catchy chorus is a fine way to finish. The boys are clearly enjoying making their noise, which, after all, is the whole point. Something tells me that this is best enjoyed in a sweaty club. I look forward to finding out soon…
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All words by Martin Haslam. More work by Martin can be found in his Louder Than War archive.