Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Crush Kill Destroy-Metric Midnight

March 1, 2006

crushkilldestroyBand Name: Crush Kill Destroy

Album Name: Metric Midnight

Best element: Complex, brilliantly executed songwriting
Genre: Indie-rock

Website: www.crushkilldestroy.net

Label name: No Karma (www.nokarma.com)
Band e-mail: ckd@crushkilldestroy.net

Ever since Chris Otepka got tinnitus so bad that he had to end Troubled Hubble and Pete Townshend issued a cry that rock will make you deaf (don’t believe it? see here: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/living/people/13553402.htm), I’ve been mildly concerned about the health of my ears. After all, I aim to make a career out of this craziness that we call independent music, so I need to take good care of that which enables me to hear it.

So I was naturally a little concerned when No Karma sent me an album by a band named Crush Kill Destroy. Having just reviewed Lords’ Swords for another publication, I wasn’t sure I could take any more hardcore without significant damage to my ears (I’m slightly paranoid, thanks to Pete Townshend).

Thankfully, Crush Kill Destroy do not crush, kill, or destroy anything on their new album Metric Midnight. In fact, a better name for this group would be Slide Groove Gallop- while it doesn’t sound nearly as cool, it’s a much better description of CKD’s rock sound.

I could go off the deep end and say that this is post-rock indie with ambient touches, but that’s dumb. I’m going to call this what it is- rock music played by some seriously odd kids. The main ingredients of Crush Kill Destroy’s rock are a lead guitarist who plays bizarre melodies, a songwriter guitarist who writes fractured, dissonant songs, a bassist who acts like a guitarist (he plays excellent melodies), and a drummer who pulls it all together with jazzy grooves.

The first two songs on this album are spazzy, dissonant rock songs punctured by spoken/barked vocals. These songs are quite good, but it’s become my policy to start listening to this album on track three- the 11-minute epic “Is the New Black.” They drop the overtly spazzy dissonance and replace it with a different type of dissonance- a permanent mood of slight discomfort, just enough to keep you on your toes. They perpetuate this mood with uniquely discordant melodies that seem so natural to the ear that I find myself wondering why I wasn’t able to write them. The band doesn’t fear featuring instruments, either- the guitars, drums, and keys all have their own moments to shine, whether it be with a mood-shifting riff or a continuation of the groove.

It’s all about groove here, as the instruments work together to form a cohesive unit of indie-rock goodness. The instruments interact so cleanly and so perfectly that it’s easy to miss how talented these musicians really are. They’ve spent a lot of time cultivating their dissonant, hypnotic, rocking work here, and as a result, the songs float on in a very ethereal way. It’s a genuinely new sound to me, so the entire experience of listening to Metric Midnight feels a little bit removed from reality.

Metric Midnight is an experience- it’s not an album that you pick and choose songs out of. You have to listen to a good chunk of this album in a row to understand what’s going on. You’ll have to listen to a lot more than once to really enjoy it. But once you’ve digested this for a while, there will be no denying in your mind that Crush Kill Destroy has crafted one heck of an album. These guys have an amazing talent for songwriting, and it shows up on Metric Midnight. If you’re a fan of moody rock, you should not let this one get by you.

-Stephen Carradini

independentclauses@hotmail.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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