The Crack City Rockers revamp '80s pop/alternative for a new generation on The Good Life.
The Crack City Rockers have been kicking around the Portland music scene since 1999 with the duo of lead-singer, rhythm guitarist, and lyricist Eric Gregory and drummer Curt Schulz as the group's mainstays. The new additions to the group (guitarist Kenneth Coleman and bassist Matt Sherman) fit in seamlessly and don't even give the slightest hint that this current configuration hasn't always played together. Gregory's lyrics and vocals bear an intellectual polish, gracing the group's songs with an eloquent yet easily-accessible poetry. Sounding like a less manic Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, Gregory's vocals vary shades of witty dichotomies and bizarre musings that make strange sense: "In the disco / In the nursing home/ I hope I'll become whole". Running as an intriguing countercurrent, Coleman's playing is a cleaned-up '70s glam that echoes Glen Buxton (of the original Alice Cooper band fame), Dave Davies of The Kinks, and a touch of J. Geils. Accented with only a mere smattering of mediocrity, notably on the slightly dull "Arms and Legs", the Crack City Rockers' results are a mix of '80s alternative and pop (best exemplified on The Good Life by "Live In The Wild") made palatable for a 21st century audience. In turn, the Crack City Rockers reward their listener with good musicianship and keen lyrical observations.