Monday, March 2, 2009

Crumbsuckers - Life of Dreams (1986)

This weekend, someone affiliated with art school hated me for inventing the cool new thing, which is push-ups followed by a shot of whiskey with protein powder in it. The feeling was mutual though, since I hate people who aren't strong. Anyway, I learned that this guy is involved with a kind of spazzy moshy band, and I couldn't help but wonder: Why would you want to be in a spazzy band when the Crumbsuckers exist?

The intricacy of the phrasings on this record could very easily get lost in the "relentless thrash attack" or whatever. The Crumbsuckers use the tonality defying flurry of power chords to construct their riffs, typical of hardcore punk, and, by extension, metal. However, the Crumbsuckers tend to stray from the structuring patterns expected of say, a Discharge song, in which two simple riffs exist in binary, and the gestalt created from this pairing provides the thrust of the song. Rather, many of the phrases on Life of Dreams are narratives in themselves, which moves the song beyond binary minimalism into more complicated structuring relationships. Also, when I've posted about extreme music in the past, I've discussed breaking the enveloping atmosphere of the d-beat for hard hitting rhythmic emphasis. This usually occurs as a third option, breaking up the Riff A, Riff B, Riff A, Riff B structure.

However, in Trapped, the phrases of the verse and chorus each resolve their own motion into this sort of emphasis. It's very easy to hear in the verse on the lines: I'm All Clammed Up - Tell Me Shut Up

The chorus is an interesting variation on the verse, in that, although the melody changes significantly, it keeps a lot of the same rhythmic ideas, but puts them in a rather herky-jerky framework. It's tough to discuss this in terms of actual meter, since the d-beat is more of a "feel" than an actual, writable rhythm, but you can count the first part of the chorus in nine, then the second part in twelve. Resolution into a hard-hitting quarter notes closes each part, before finally putting us back on safe ground with a return to the verse or a transition into a straight backbeat.
Also, if you want me to like something, have a part like at 0:30 in Face of Death.

Hey, who remembers that fascinating post I did about The Gordons a few months ago? It turns out that a venerable blogger offered a link to their extremely difficult to locate second album:

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but given the body of work that dudes have put together as The Gordons, and then later Bailterspace, I'm almost as excited as you are to hear it.


Roger Camden said...

Nice critique.

Push-up whiskey shot sounds pretty intense.

Patrick said...

You should one-up it, and make it so you have to do the push-ups while making the "hang loose" gesture with your thumb and pinky. That would truly be cool.

Stephen said...

I support Patrick's comment. Hang loose forever.

Todd said...

I can do an awkward one-handed push-up, so I could use my other hand to offensively rotate the "hang loose" gesture, or I could have both hands on the ground in proper "hang loose" position. The question is: "Which is looser?"

Andy said...

Dude that Gordons record is so weirdly poppy! Bailterspace seemed like such a seamless transition. I would never have expected this as the intermediate release.

Scott D said...

well well well, have enjoyed this and beast on my back by the same group since somewhere in my metal obsessed college career (too long ago to say exactly when, memories is fuzzy).

ironically, this band gets lots of thumbs up from non-metal types and odd looks from pro-metal types---something i could never figure out.

new york hardcore/thrash/etc from this era is a confusing entity.

Todd said...

Yeah, this Crumbsuckers record definitely does quite well amongst a lot of non-metal people I know. A lot of weird bands, such as Life of Agony, get embraced due to affiliation with NYHC, so I guess it all makes sense in a twisted sort of way.

I can think of a certain class of metal dudes who look down on crossover as a whole, but I can't imagine any real people not liking this record.

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DBinNYC said...

Having penned the lyric, i found this review rather refreshing. "Trapped" was always a favorite of mine.

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Todd said...

Haha amazing! Honored to have you comment, Mr. Brady. And I'll take a look through those archives for sure.