Vancouver scuzz-punks CRYSTAL SWELLS meld together parts punk, psych and surf rock for a sound that’s equally exhilarating as it is trashy. Their 7″ was just released by TRBLFKR Records this past July in a short run of 250.
This single has the pedal to the metal from start to finish, serving up a crunchy lo-fi edge that leaves these songs exceptionally rusty around the edges. “Harsh Flux” starts the single with an optimistic, stomping rage, plowing on through with dirty streamlined guitars and invigorating solos for an excellent snapshot of their pulsing sound. “Kelly Does Bayside” follows and keeps the fury going strong, this time with a menacing surf rock twang as Nick Price leads us through with his frantic and blown-out vocals. Jagged guitar soloing does heavy damage, exiling this freakish monstrosity into the depths of hell.
Following that, “Pacific Center Sludge” brings a welcomed change of pace by settling things down for a moment. We’re guided on through by lazy, glowing guitars, eventually showing a much more calm and cool Nick Price as he sways amongst the rhythm. Punchy tom-toms and glinting guitar licks decorate the twangy sludge, quickly backfiring into a stomping punk onslaught about halfway through. Suddenly we’re in the midst of a fiery storm of sharp guitar shards, barging on through with Price’s soaring vocals and a climaxing guitar solo that brings it all home. With a track like this, clearly Crystal Swells know how to hit that mark – from progression of the sound to the overall structure of the songs, this is one you probably don’t want to miss. The single wraps up with the spastic “Freaks in Heat,” serving as one last, hellish reminder of their twisted surf rock tendencies.
Right below you can listen to this 7″ monstrosity entirely via Bandcamp, and we’d highly recommend doing so. At the same time, it’s also probably a good idea to grab a 7″ before they’re gone – I’ll be doing the same!
My Rating: SS
Genre/ Tags: Punk, Surf Rock, Psychedelic, Lo-Fi
HarshSide/SludgeFreaks 7″: Tracklist:
1.) Harsh Flux
2.) Kelly Does Bayside
3.) Pacific Center Sludge
4.) Freaks in Heat