Call me biased, but I don't usually get into bar rock. If they're not doing something interesting with the time or the tempo - or at least moving along at breakneck speed - I tend to lose interest. That said, colour me surprised that I cannot stop listening to the Kramdens' latest, Quiet Collision
. Talk to any Guelph native and they've likely seen these guys playing somewhere, sometime as this marks their thirteenth year together (yet only their third full-length album). After all this time the quintet is finally garnering some press, with this being their first major label-distributed release.
Right off the bat, I got a little shake with "Sometimes I Feel," a straight-ahead rock n' roll tune intended to do one thing: get you on your feet. "Breakwall" follows, reining in the crunch in favour of what I can best describe as a song that should get everyone drinking (always a plus to have a few of those in your repertoire when you work the bar scenes). It's a song that would almost be morose if it weren't for lyrics patronizing that sort of behaviour: "Just give me something I can use/Give me something to make me move." Another beer anyone?
I often find bands at their most interesting during instrumentals, and the Kramdens deliver. "(Theme From) Nicotine And Disappointment" is a simple and beautiful tune that I have caught myself throwing on repeat. And surprise, it makes me want to smoke cigarettes and dwell on failures.
Admittedly some of the tracks fall into the dreaded four-chord/four-beat bar rock standards but Quiet Collision
's layout is arranged in such a way to alternate between the rocking and the navel-gazing. This keeps the album from fizzing out early and keeps skeptics like me listening, and to be honest even the standard stuff is far above much the pub fare I've become used to. To quote the band, "The big boys like their rock and roll!"
RECOMMENDED TRACKS: "Sometimes I Feel", "Breakwall", "(Theme From) Nicotine And Disappointment" "I Am The Factory"
By Mike Yunker
Aug 19, 2002