Sunday, February 20, 2011
Crucial Dudes - 61 Penn
I found Crucial Dudes while browsing for music on a ska forum I used to post on. The thread about them was titled "Latterman + Tom Delonge" and was posted by my friend Toby. The post contained a link to Crucial Dude's album "61 Penn" on bandcamp, and claims of it sounding like Latterman if Tom from Blink 182 were to sing. After listening to them, I immediately understood the Latterman reference, but I think whoever thinks the singer sounds like Tom is just out of their mind. If anything, I'd say he sounds like Soupy from The Wonder Years, or maybe 10 other guys I've heard while riding in my friend Holly's car. I'm not saying it as a bad thing, though. I like his voice, and I love the instrumentals. This album is fucking sweet. Good looks, Toby.
According to their Last.Fm page, Crucial Dudes are a 5-piece punk band from Southern New Jersey. You can find a link to download their self titled EP on the last.fm, if you want to check out their other stuff. The new album, 61 Penn, came out early this year and it's the first time I even heard of these dudes. But, after listening to the album on repeat most of today, I'm fairly certain they'll be pretty crucial to my music listening habits for a while. And if you listen to these albums after I review them, you'll probably feel the same way.
The album kicks off with a short, instrumental track called "Mt. Chill, You're Climbing". If you're a fan of Latterman, you'll notice the simliarties in style right away. Otherwise, you'll just immediately notice how good their shit sounds. It's a pretty basic chord progression with a familiar sounding lead, and a lot of energy. This intro sets the tone for the album really. It's energetic and kind of just makes me feel happy. It goes into the song "Doubt" and we get to hear this alleged 'Tom Delonge sounding vocalist', and you'll probably notice by the end of this short track that he does not sound at all like Tom. He has a bit of a whiny voice, but with some gruff to it. The vocals are presented on top of some awesome instrumental work, and everything is catchy as hell. I love the lead guitar at the end right before it cuts off to leave the words "so stay away, so stay away" as the last thing you hear before the next song comes on.
Everything on this album flows together really well. This band has an overall sound, and it's pretty similar to The Upsides album by The Wonder Years, and pretty much everything by Latterman. I love both of those bands, and I definitely feel pretty strongly about liking Crucial Dudes now, as well. All the songs are catchy, and all the guitar leads are interesting. The vocals are infectious and the recording quality is pretty good. There's no reason you won't enjoy this album, unless you don't like the genre to begin with. Another noteworthy song on their release is "Mad Nice". It's 55 seconds and vocals consist of just "woah-ohs", but it serves as a great intro into the title track "61 Penn". The title track is one of my favorites on this album. It's catchy, and I'm already singing along to it everytime it comes on. It's angsty, it's energetic, and it's pretty empowering. This song alone is a good enough reason to give these dudes a chance. You'll probably become a fan and end up going to all of their shows and wearing their T-Shirts everywhere you go. Or you might not, that's not for me to decide or anything.
The song "On Leaving" is the main reason this band was described as sounding just like Latterman. The similarity on this track is pretty damn striking, and it doesn't at all turn me off or make me think that they're to be chalked up as an unncessary appendage to the pop punk scene, because I think they have the capability of bringing more to the table in the future. Basically, the experience of purchasing 61 Penn by Crucial Dudes can be metaphorized (real word?) by this: Say you want to play a board game with your friends, but ever since moving out of your mom's house you don't have any board games. So, you go out to the store and by an old favorite, Monopoly. While you've played Monopoly plenty of times, you still love playing it. It may not be bringing something new to the table, but maybe you're playing it on a new table. Then it is, so I win.
The last song is as good as the others, and is more catchy vocals and fun music and everything else I've already told you about. This review is of course longer than I intended it to be, but that always happens with me. I think you should give this album a few listens on bandcamp and decide whether you like it for yourself. I hope you do, and I hope they stick to their guns and release many more albums, because my ears would like that very much. Later, dudes.
You can find Crucial Dudes on facebook HERE, and you can find Idle and the Bear on facebook HERE.