Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  Crybaby EP  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:

The very first time i saw this band i thought "they seem intersting". The second time i thought "wow, good guitarwork and nice vocals". So i wound up getting their self-titled debut EP.

Their sound is interesting. They have distictly western guitars (with lotsa tremolo) palyed by CJ Bargamian, a refugee from Myssouri, who actually played the guitars on that band's Furnace Songs EP. There is the powerful jazzy voice of Kelly Sirmans. I say jazzy because, well, she REALLY sings. I mean, she does not mutter into the microphone or scream , she sings like she had some training (and i could tell that before i read it on the bands website! scary -- i'm actually learning to differentiate things now....) The bass of Todd Oakley and the drumming of Mark Carbone take a full-on rhythm approach -- like they drive the stagecoach, and if it ever stops the Apache are gonna scalp everyone, so keep on riding!

Combine the western guitars and rhythms with the wonderful singing and you get an interesting mix that seems distinctive. It seems that there are painfully few people in the Indie Rock World who actually know how to sing. Kelly Hogan and Neko Case are two who come to mind off of the top of my head. Most of the music i listen to involves vocalists who basically talk in a rhythmic fashion over the musc. Not that i am complaining -- heck, i like that rhythmic talking stuff, but hearing Ms. Sirmans belt out the tunes on this EP reminds me that the human voice can really be a wonderful instrument, capable of expressing emotion quite well. It's good to hear someone who knows what they are doing.

This being a five-song EP (in my seemingly endless series of reviews of EPs this year), let me examine each of the songs in turn.

The EP starts off with the song that really drew me in at their concert. It's called Kaleidoscopic Dreams and features some wonderful chiming guitar in a sweet little melody. Combine this with drumming a la Walking on the Moon by The Police, a good plodding bass line, and Ms. Sirmans nice clear deep vocals and you get a good 8 minute tune. What i like especially is the middle of the song, where Ms. Sirmans sings high pitched over a guitar solo with lots of distortion. There is also a nice xylophone melody to counterpoint the guitars. This is a good tune that ebbs and swells. Quite nice. I think this is the real stand-out track on the EP. It appeals to the shoegazer in me with it's effected guitar.

Crybaby change pace a little for Blue-eyed Boy, which is more of an Indie Rock song. It's faster paced and features really forceful singing that reminds me of Johnette Napolitano on early Concrete Blonde releases.

The EP's shortest track, the three minute All My Love, is where drummer Carbone really lets lose. He plays all over the kit and he really drives this song along.

Things slow down a little for So I Do. Ms. Sirmans sings through some type of distortion that makes her voice sound hollow and far away. The guitar is ponderous in moving through the rhythm. The bridge on this song is really nice -- staccato guitar and drums combined with a really good bass riff and her suddenly undistorted voice wailing away.

Crybaby wrap things up with Leave Me. "It's 2 AM," she sings, as if delerium has set in, the beer has caught up with us, and it's time to play LOUD AND FAST. This is a pretty passionate song and is my second favorite on the EP. Gets really punky at the end with power chords and monotonous drum beats.

On the whole, each of the songs are pretty strong. I would like to hear the guitar more balanced with the voice -- often it is a little in the background compared to the vocals. Then again, Ms. Sirmans has a good enough voice to pull that off, so i'm not complaining too much.

As i listened to this EP over and over to prepare this review, an interesting thought occurred to me: there are five songs and four band members. Each member really shines through and drives one of the songs: guitars on Kaleidoscopic Dreams, voice on Blue-eyed Boy, drums on All My Love, and bass on So I Do. This leaves the final song to sort of wrap things up -- i think on Leave Me each member, confident that they have shown their individual strengths, now works together with the others to create something. I don't know if this effect was intentional, but on the first four songs i really do mostly focus on one instrument, and that fifth tune allows me to step back and see them working together.

So i say that this is a pretty solid debut. It shows much potential, and i look forward to hearing more from this band.

Related Links:
  None currently available.  

Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.