Thursday, 6 June 2013

Crybaby Special - No Excuses

Album review by

Medway band Crybaby Special are a band with a hunger. Since forming in 2011 they've played every gig opportunity they've been given, made CDs and merchandise themselves and generally thrown themselves wholeheartedly into being a band. It makes you wonder just what other acts might achieve if they lived by the same principles. Out with the egos and pretentiousness, in with the "can do" attitude. You don't need facts like these to learn that this quintet are putting their hearts and souls into the group though, their debut album 'No Excuses' practically leaps out of the speakers and performs live in the room with you, right in your face. There may be broken furniture and an empty drinks cabinet afterwards too. You get the impression they take no prisoners.

They attack these songs with a vigour that is all too rare. For your casual music fan looking for a new experimental rock band to listen to, this probably isn't the one for you; the intensity and sharpness may be too much. The vocal rasp is almost demonic in its urgency to deliver its message. From a personal point of view, it's pet peeve time on occasion. Ska: there have been some legendary ska performers and as a Brit I'm proud that bands like The Specials and The Beat took these sounds and adapted them for a more British audience, stamping their identity on the sounds from the Caribbean. And those original pioneers were true greats. Whoever decided to mix it with rock made a big mistake though, and don't get me started on modern ska-punk. This is solely the reserve of crusties at festivals.

At times on 'No Excuses' (we'll pick some out: 'One Thing Left To Try', 'I Got It Wrong', 'Murder In The Wall', 'One Way Mind') the band get a little too close to this sound for my liking, but this is purely a personal thing. Elsewhere, songs like the title-track, the snarling 'Let The Boy Down', the frankly quite creepy 'Wishing Well', the equally disturbing 'One Winged Bird' and the slightly obtuse 'On A Bench' show a determination and appetite that few other bands muster. They finish strongly with 'Beelzebub Boogie' which incorporates jazz into their freaky musical soup. If you share my personal dislike of ska-punk, don't dismiss this album; there's plenty more here that sounds vital and rabid. If you don't share that dislike and you're open to alternative sounds from a band who play it like they mean it, then you'll be quids in on this one.

Crybaby Special's website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

Friday 5th July - *The Hop Farm Music Festival*, Paddock Wood, Kent

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