This is the second or third release from Atlanta
rock act, Crybaby. I reviewed their
first EP here, and found it enjoyable and full of promise.
Then they released a Live CD recorded at The Star Bar, which
i never found a copy of. And now, No Means yes.
When i first heard this latest EP, i was a little put off by
the "rock" feel. Crybaby are wearing their shoegazer influences
less openly, and at first, i admit, it was a bit of a turnoff.
But i kept coming back to the EP. I guess it's because they
have really solidified as a band, and have matured together
No Means yes starts off with that noise from
"Extended Dynamic Range" cassettes. Anybody who listened to
music in the 80's knows what i mean. it makes me smile everytime
i put the CD in and that sound plays...
Things get their start with Sick, a decent little pop
number. The instruments all sound balanced, and it's really
Sirens is a little more rock. Vocalist Kelly Sirmans
is really belting it out in the chorus. The drumming is exquisite
-- Mark Carbone really shines here. What i like best about this
song is that CJ Bargamian's guitar still wavers and flows like
he is a refugee from a shoegazer act. It's a subtle effect though,
not too overdone. Except maybe towards the end, where the entire
song gets really busy, with Sirmans screaming, the guitar seesawing
away, and the drums thudding. The overall effect of this tune
reminds me of something from the post-punk era, although i can't
place it any further than that... At any rate, i really like
Sorry is a lovely melancholy tune that starts slow and
sultry, with the guitar buried under layers of tremolo. This
song really shows Sirmans' voice to its best, and really shows
her dynamic range. The song slowly builds to a nice catharsis.
If Given the Chance is a melancholy tune that starts
with a very Smiths-like riff. In fact, Bargamian's playing is
mostly Marr-like here, while Sirmans vocals fluctuate between
sad and screaming. The whole song is full of the blues, and
wavers under the weight of sorrow until crashing and becoming
a wall of feedback for half a minute or so. It's a nice effect,
and i think it works.
Another Feeling is a sleazy blues rock number, raunchy
and loud. I seem to remember that when i saw them at Corn-dog-o-rama,
this song came across really well on stage. It has that "live"
feel to it -- as if the intensity that the musicians pour into
the song can't really be captured on tape, and you just need
to see it. I think this has something to do with the drumming
-- again, Carbone is really beating the tar out of his kit.
When the last note fades out, there is still 4 minutes left.
There is about 30 seconds are silence. And then, Crybaby jam
out! There is some interesting percussion going on, but for
the most part this "hidden track" has the feel of a "studio
outtake".... Not great, but not terrible.
On the whole though, this is a coherent and accomplished release.
Crybaby are a strong band with a healthy grounding in bluesy
rock. Although really, Sirmans' voice has always seemed designed
for that style of music. (At least to me...)
One interesting note is that this is a VERY well-recorded EP
for a local act. The drums have a nice "live" sound to them,
like they were recorded in one very well-done take, and then
the rest of the music was played in accompaniment. I dunno if
that makes sense, but sometimes it sounds like the drumming
is the lead instrument.... And that really works for the band.
But it's not just the drums that are well recorded: Sirmans
voice sounds as rich here as it does live. And the guitars and
bass are each in their place, neither lost in the mix nor overpowering
And quite honestly, this is somewhat shocking. Not in a bad
way, but in the sense that "If Crybaby can do it, why the heck
can't so many other local bands record themselves worth a crap?"
I am serious here people: if you are one of the Atlanta musicians
that i have ranted about muddy production on your albums (and
you know who you are) go and listen to this release. Then call
Crybaby and ask for their help. They seem like nice kids --
i am sure that they can at least explain to you what they did....
Okay, enough of that. My overall verdict: 1 great song (Sirens)
+ 4 good songs + one studio outtake + excellent production for
an Atlanta band = a very good EP.
Now, i wonder why Crybaby will be up to next ....