Monday, June 05, 2006

WHAM BAM CANUCK GLAM: Crash Kelly -- sugar-coating defeat through boogie rock

"You're 33 on the charts," sings Crash Kelly. As Canadians, they're self-knowing, an assesment that they're not crashing the top ten, but headed for the bottom, in hearts or on the hit parade, no matter what. The tuneful collisional hard rock on Electric Satisfaction surpasses their last LP, one with a great glam rock single, "Penny Pills." Tsar's (and you don't know who they were -- a band from the UC Santa Barbara frats in Isla Vista, CA) Band-Girls-Money did this a year ago with less handclaps and not as much happy-sounding keyboard devoted to the task of making fist-pumping pop metal of regret and confusion.

Crash Kelly's nasal singer shakes his head and whispers in your ear while the guitars do "Louie Louie" thump forward, backward and sideways, the lead guitar squealing in all the right percussion holes, the background singers mimicking the Beatles. Like Def Leppard's Yeah! , it's a hard rock dance fest. But this one isn't about the golden sun of the "Waterloo Sunset." Instead, the girls are always grinding smokes out on your face.

"She Put the Shock" opens with super-crunch fuzz riffola, the rock 'n' roll back beat driven through by roadhouse piano. Boogie licks shoot fireworks left and right, harmony leads work towards a "jukebox Lizzy song" while a girl puts the lead in Crash's pencil. Near the end, the band sticks in multiple quotes from Thin Lizzy.

"Rock and Roll Disasters" is from "That 70's Show" -- the episode, whether it happened or not, where Eric suffers from erectile dysfunction. Teenage hearts break and degrade, Donna forgives him, and spends the rest of the night mending a shattered ego. "You dumbass," says Red, many times.

"You're a drag when you're high, and you're friends have left for greener pastures" sings Crash on a tune of the same name. The guitars trumpet, the harmony singers swell in regret: "Best get used to spending nights alone." Ouch. Don't let the tight smile slip. Could be an allegory for middle age and a simultaneous crisis in morale.

The album closes with "Cold Ethyl" from Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare tour. If you get exotic the dame you want, you'll be cold, icycle blue, stuck in refrigerator heaven.

Mea culpa: A big "Oops." The original review bungled the name of Crash's new album as Electric Fascination. It's Electric Satisfaction. "You dumbass," said Red.

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