It almost goes without saying that after a 15-year (!) hiatus (that’d be 1996’s Love in Exile), the Chrome Cranks sound rusty—and oh, by the way, that’s a compliment. In today’s sanguine indie rock scene, the bloody, clangorous rock ‘n’ roll blasts coming from the Cranks are a welcome, necessary aural treat. Formed by ex-members of G.G. Allin’s Murder Junkies, the Honeymoon Killers and Pussy Galore, and who thank Lux Interior, Captain Beefheart and Swans’ Michael Gira (who contributed Blood’s citrus-y/gory album cover)—well, that sentence pretty much lets you know what the Cranks are serving up.
From front man Peter Aaron’s muttered “start over” at the top of opener “I’m Trash” (which quickly rumbles into a plodding, grinding, No Wave-y yellfest of “I’m trash, fading fast”), to the careening out-of-control surf “Living/Dead” and the demented boogie of “Brokenhearted King”, these guys are picking up right where they left off, and they sound like they haven’t gone anywhere since you read about them in the Trouser Press Guide while you were thumbing through the music section at Borders in 1996. The record closes with three covers, including an insane run through the Byrds’ “Lover of the Bayou”. Granted, Husker Du already did the definitive post-punk deconstruction of McGuinn and company, but the Cranks prove that the swamp and the gutter aren’t that far apart. We all sound this vital after a 15 year break.
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