From their website:
The Crash Kings’ radical new sound is huge to say the least. Of their vision, Tony is quick to point out, “We wanted to create a band that once and for all could be ‘The Big Rock Sound’ without guitar.” One might wonder…rock without guitar, how is that possible? Well, the Crash Kings have gotten a bit innovative in their quest to create rock with just keys, bass, and drums. With tube overdrive and multiple amps Mike’s bass brings heaviness to the band’s sound. On top of that Tony plays a clavinet (a keyboard with guitar strings), which has been customized with a large whammy bar allowing him to bend notes like a guitar producing an entirely new sound. Having these two very unique elements makes the Crash Kings’ music feel raw and full at the same time.
Their lyrics are solid, but nothing to write home about. They switch from the standard hard rock fare to the sentimental and sweet. What holds my attention is the music. I love me some guitar, but never once did I miss it on any of the tracks. On "You Got Me," the bass pulls no punches, while the keyboard plays a haunting riff. On the other side of the spectrum is a song like "Come Away" which is reminiscent of The Fray minus the Emo. Musicality and lyricism have not been sacrificed for the sake of edginess, and the sound is stronger and more unique for the compromise.
Part of what appeals to me about the Crash Kings is that they allow themselves to branch out within the album. While many rock bands put out albums with essentially three songs replayed with modified lyrics in different keys, every track on "Crash Kings" is memorable, with structures and moods that are entirely individual. It's a smallish album with only 10 tracks, but the size works in the bands' favor. Listeners get a taste of what the group can do without running the risk of running out of ideas on the first album.
Final thoughts: If you like Ben Folds, Foo Fighters, and Keane, this is a band you should check out.
Two of their songs, "You Got Me" and "Mountain Man", are already on the Crash Kings Youtube channel.
Live Long, Rock Hard,
*They were playing "Mountain Man." Some states should never be allowed a sense of humor.