THE CRUNCH - Busy Making Noise
When a CD arrives from a band including members of Sham
69 and the Cockney Rejects, it's fair to say that most people would
have their money on it containing three-chord, Oi! inspired, street
anthems. But in this case they'd be very wide of the mark.
THE CRUNCH came about only because of a book launch
in Stockholm. Diamond Dogs lead singer Sulo Karisson was compiling
an anthology of interviews with 70's rock and punk stars focusing
on their lives today. To give the launch party a bit of bollocks he
struck on the bright idea of rounding up a few of his subjects to
provide some musical backing. So after a few phone calls, Terry Chimes,
original drummer with the Clash, Dave "Kermit" Tregunna
of Sham 69 and Mickey Geggus of the Cockney Rejects joined him for
a strictly one off show. However, things went so well that by early
2013 they had committed a single to vinyl and made plans to produce
a fully fledged long player. Which brings me to... BUSY MAKING NOISE
the debut long player from the band.
And if the thought of another "punk" record doesn't float
your boat, I can vouch that this album actually contains 14 slices
of bona fide rock music. Whilst it definitely contains the hall marks
of punk, they don't just limit themselves to narrow musical boundaries
and indeed, at times, the band sound as close to Mott the Hoople,
as they do to Menace. From the opening salvo of first track "Busy
Making Noise" the bar is set high with wall of sound guitars,
thunderous drums, cracking riffs and hook laden songs. This number
sets out the bands manifesto in that each has "never been a saint
and I sure had drink or two. But I've always been true to my heart".
Given that the backbeat is provide by the original sticksman for the
Clash, such emotional outpourings are understandable and completely
valid. For a feel good opener its difficult to top the bravado and
sheer exuberance of the chorus "I've really got no choice. I'm
busy making noise with the boys". It deserves to be a single.
And without a pause for breath "Street Flavour" crashes
out of the amps, with Geggus' infectious guitar making it impossible
to keep your feet still. Next single "Fire Again" follows
rapidly, bolstered by Chimes metronomic, machine gun, drumming, with
an almost balalaika type guitar solo to boot. Sweeping guitars herald
the intro of their first single "Down by the Border". With
its melodic hook reminiscent of Strummer/Jones at their best, and
a Duane Eddy guitar sound, it has more the feel of a power pop number,
than ear shattering punk.
Just to show they are no one-trick-ponies the tempo is slowed right
down for the anthemic "Yesterday's Boys and Girls", as Sulo
appears to reminisce over times gone by. Slowly, from a piano only
intro, it gains momentum through intertwined guitar melodies to the
tracks soaring crescendo. Similarly "Floodlight" is
slow and even bluesy, whilst "Looking for a Blaze" could
easily be a Bruce Springsteen number. "Remember Me Like That"
has the same flavour of "Straight to Hell" by Chimes former
comrades, The Clash. On which theme, "Matter of Time" would
not have sounded out of place on Joe Strummer's final solo album "Streetcore",
matters made even more convincing by Sulo's similar gargled-with-gravel
vocals. Break up ballad "A Lit Bit of Grace" sees them joined
by Swedish female vocalist Idde Scultz, to prove this is not just
a testosterone fuelled, boys pissing contest of an album. I thinks
its safe to sat therefore the bands musical versatility can not be
But for me its the guitar driven numbers that showcase the band at
their best. On "Gangster Radio" they rile against the rock
free zone that national radio has become. "Right About Now"
starts with the rolling thunder drum intro used by Stiff Little Fingers
on "At the Edge" and, if I had to pick a favourite track,
album closer "Runaway Son" is the type of firebrand music
that sadly seems to be missing from the current musical landscape.
Loud and proud, it also benefits from an appearance by guitarist Geggus'
brother Jeff "Stinky" Turner. Not just punk, but proper
When reviewing CDs it can, at times, be difficult to glean many positives
from the earnest efforts of musicians far better than me. Who am I
to deride their offerings when, after many months spent in rehearsals
and touring dingy venues, it yields a recording that is less than
ground breaking. Thankfully, no such white lies are required here.
This album is bloody brilliant and hasn't been our of my CD player
since it arrived. Not officially released until October 28th, make
a diary note to get your self an early Christmas present then!