Alternative music reviews

October 22, 2005

Pearls Before Swine by Crashed Out

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Old-skool rabble-rousing punk rockers Crashed Out are a fine example of how to pull this fairly limited genre off with aplomb. Influenced by all those late seventies punk bands, Crashed Out don’t forget to include really strong choruses and remarkably catchy hooks to their Rancid/Clash inspired long player ‘Pearls Before Swine’. Formed 10 years ago when the band were just 15 and 16 year old school kids, Crashed Out have constantly toured the gig circuit supporting the likes of UK Subs in the process. The songs are either mid or fast paced, with gritty, sing-a-long vocals that don’t differ much from each song but does create a single-minded attempt to bludgeon the listener into pogo-bouncing goons. It’s hard to pick favourite songs as they are all of high standard – take ‘Freakshow’ which sings the praises of all the freaks from the band’s hometown in South Shields. For sheer novelty value ‘Fat Punks Don’t Pogo’ is a play on how fat punks – yes, you guessed it – don’t pogo anymore. The guitarist uses all kinds of finger licking trickery on his fret board throughout the album’s duration, making these songs sound like a cross between AC/DC and English Oi Punk. The guitar playing is by far the most interesting instrument musically, always finding ways to make the riffs as melodic as possible. The threatening ‘Sink The Ink’ could even be a nod to AC/DC’s similarly titled ‘Sink The Pink’.

It helps that the songwriting is good too, lots of woo-whoah backing vocals and chugging rhythms contributing to the overall sum. Possibly the best song on the album is ‘I’m The Outcast’ which dabbles with Reggae chords in the verses before unleashing a feel-good chorus of not fitting in but not caring. The other highpoint ‘The Jarrow Song’ is another tasty track with first person perspective of a Georgie with more threats in the lyrics; “And if they don’t give us half a chance, Don’t even give us a second glance, Then Geordie with my blessings burn them down”. To finish with yet another AC/DC reference, these songs do not differentiate from a well-worn formula; there are no soppy ballads, no electronic layers, no wussy sensitivity – this is street punk attitude with king-size balls.

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Review by Nick Collings

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