The wonderfully named Crow Eats Man wear their musical hearts very openly on their sonic sleeves, nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong at all with declaring a love for the music which sat at that point where the melodic end of grunge butted up against the formative years of the alt-rock sound that it paved the way for. But like any band working with tried and tested genres, and familiar sounds, you have two options. Either you try to bring something new to the genre, though not so much that it wanders too far from its home turf, or you just aim to do it better than the rest of the bands journeying through similar musical landscapes.
Thankfully Crow Eats Man manage to do both. Not only is this the perfect blend of celebrating the past and carrying that specific musical torch into new, future potential, they also manage to nail down the hall marks of the alt-rock sound in a way that few bands manage to. Opening salvo and lead single Jaded leaves you under know illusion as to what the band is all about, big riffs, powering back beats, pulsing bass lines, urgent energy – old school rock being made over for the next generation. And if that was all that was going on here, that would be good enough, but as you work your way through the e.p. you realise the width and depth of the sonic stall that they are laying out before you.
Lost Son broods and bristles with dystopian blues and dark intent and Deependit pushes the sound into the realms of the metal fraternity, though due to Sebastian Sanchez powerful vocals, the band never feels the need to play the screamo cop-out card – come on, do you think those cacophonous crooners would be making such silly noises if they could actually sing? None of that nonsense here, no sir.
The e.p. bows out with the majestic wall of noise, staccato dynamics and gang vocals of Fresno Cigarette Run, a brilliant excuse to show the bands blend of weight and intricacy as a tsunami of power chords and low end bass come tumbling out of the speakers to be played to the finish by wonderfully manic guitar work. And it says something about a band that despite all their demonstrable musical skills, they always serve the song rather than fuel the ego and the only bit of showboating comes in the last minute of the album, and by then, they have earned the right and then some.
Rock has been in a difficult place of late, resorting to electronica, parody and indie-lite trappings to try and find a new purpose. Crow Eats Man remind us that rock always had a purpose and always will, it just requires not forgetting the genres roots, its place and path through musical history, once you have learned that, you will find you have all the ammunition you need to succeed. Crow Eats Man knows this all too well and thanks to them it looks like serious and well crafted alt-rock is back on the menu.