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The Crash Kings - Antonio Beliveau (vocals, piano, keyboards), Michael Beliveau (bass), Jason Morris (drums) - ditch the lead guitar for a unique sound on the 10 tracks. And though "Mountain Man" - which packs a punch of the best arena rock from Billy Squier - may lure in the curious, it is where things are kept simple that's most successful.
The top cut is "Come Away," which has a wonderful strings arrangement from David Campbell. "It's Only Wednesday" has the pop sensibilities of the Small Faces, with elements of the Climax Blues Band sprinkled into the mid-tempo "My Love." Morris drives the beat on "Raincoat," while Michael Beliveau provides a harder edge on "You Got Me."
The only stumble is on "Non-Believer," where the gimmicky layered-vocals sounds like something arranged by a clone of Sir George Martin who is on anabolic steroids. But the next cut - "14 Arms" - has a frantic pace that works very well.
The road may be winding, but the twists and turns find this "power trio" commandeering the tangents without the use of the guardrails.
Remarkably, this trio (the brothers are joined by drummer Jason Morris) can pull off a big rock record with only keys, bass, and drums. How do they do this? "With tube overdrive and multiple amps Mike's bass brings heaviness to the band's sound. On top of that Tony plays a clavinet (a keyboard with guitar strings), which has been customized with a large whammy bar allowing him to bend notes like a guitar producing an entirely new sound". I understand your skepticism - but just listen to Tony Beliveau's soaring vocals and the powerful, driving rhythm section and you won't even realize you are rocking out to a band that doesn't use guitar!
The Crash Kings previously opened for Chris Cornell, Stone Temple Pilots, The Bravery, and Rooney. They are currently on tour with Jet, which is a logical match-up as many of their tunes have a retro feel like Jet. But the Crash Kings have a diverse sound, coming close to O.A.R. or Safetysuit at times, or approaching the piano rock of Ben Folds or Josh Fix with a smattering of Queen now and then. If you like any of the aforementioned artists, there is a treasure for you to uncover in the self-titled debut by Crash Kings.
What makes this record so enjoyable does not really relate to the band's unique attributes such as the fact that the founders are brothers who have boldly omitted guitar from their sound spectrum.Read more ›
What I like most about Crash Kings' style is that the bass is so prominent. This isn't to say it's the focal point, but it's the sole string instrument (other than violins and cello in "Come Away," a ballad that feels out of place with the pace of the album; the end would have been a better fit). The bass is not just a foundation here. It's tasty and meaty in numbers like "1985," "Raincoat," and "You Got Me." I like to think Michael Beliveau plays his bass a bit like Death From Above 1979 bass player Jesse Keeler. I also like that the piano isn't overdone in twinkly, headache-ish fashion (sort of related, some metal bands overdo keyboards and it's annoying). The amount of piano is just right and complements the other instruments well.
Crash Kings are very upbeat, sometimes even magical, and I'm sold. Hopefully there is more to come.
Vocally, the band sounds like a more southern-rock version of The White Stripes. And it not only works on the rock songs, but they also do a pretty decent ballad. Add to that some good lyrical work, and some memorable songs, and you got yourself the full Crash Kings package, and a pretty good debut from the band. It may not be that expansive sound-wise, but if there's one thing you can't say about the band, it's that they never crash and burn. No crashing here. Just cruising along the little-tread highway of true piano rock.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Solid album showcasing Crash Kings great range in a collection of mostly enjoyable alternative songs with great melodies and vocals. Read morePublished 3 months ago by QuickSilverSeven
Crash Kings came into my life at the perfect time. I was really into Jack White and The Black Keys, but I also wanted something different. Something, I don't know, fresh. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Brett Corkins
This music on this album is beautiful. His voice is so powerful - listen to it cranked up on a sunny day, it is very spiritual. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Tara S. Mcclintick
they got me. what can i say?
they played those 2 awesome songs on the radio and i had to have them, so i bought the album. guess what? the rest is garbage. but, thats just me. Read more
good quality music that is not too main stream. CD came in a sealed plastic and brand new. Would recommend.Published 24 months ago by Alez L.
Heard thsis playing ina friends office and went straight out and bought it. Rhythmic, edgy, loved it from the first.Published on December 27, 2013 by L.May
I love every song on this album. Awesome to chill out to or sing at the top of your lungs in the car. It's so different. No guitar, but there's a piano?! Read morePublished on August 14, 2013 by OhOhHeyLa
I did not know who the Crash Kings were until I heard one song and I had to buy this album to hear more. I love all kinds of music, these guys are very nice to hear. Read morePublished on June 10, 2013 by JASON HOUSER
Great album, great condition when it got here. The best track is #1, Mountain Man. Check it out and thank me later.Published on May 3, 2013 by Dr. McBadass