Crash City Saints are back with the long awaited follow up to Glow In The Dark Music, which inspired rave reviews back in 2010, with single “Out From The Storm” winning Song of the Day honors from KEXP.
Highlighted by the contribution of Cocteau Twins‘ Simon Raymonde, Are You Free? might be the best shoegaze-influenced album released all year, and yet it’s so much more than that.
It’s something of a shoegaze “Quadrophenia”, telling the autobiographical story of a teenager growing up in a dead-end small town in the early 90s.
Each song, other than being a lyrical outlook at teenage melancholia in a small-town wasteland, represents also an homage to the bands from that period: My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, Galaxie 500, and the whole Madchester scene (Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, The Dylans, The High, Soup Dragons, Northside, Charlatans UK, Jesus Jones and EMF).
Music can “save your life” as The Smiths once put it, and those bands become actual torches to move forward in the darkness.
Every band has a history, and the history of Crash City Saints is a litany of missed connections and infidelity, a series of false starts and crushing disappointments.
In this sense, Crash City Saints are just like the rest of us—you’d think they were cursed if their music didn’t sound like it was touched by the gods. And yet they haven’t given up.
In that sense, they are special.
They’re from Kalamazoo, Michigan. This means they sing about going to 7-11, not going to brunch. Are You Free? gallops from strength to strength—songs of ice cream and car crashes, the end of school and the end of existence—before ending with the elegiac ‘Harbour Lights.’
Although anglophile enough to reference an iconic UK sitcom, the album title is American enough to wonder if freedom still exists.
1. Ice Cream Headache
2. Smile Lines
3. Weirdos Need Love Too
4. There’s No School Tomorrow
5. Use Once Then Dispose
6. Spirit Photography
7. Act 2
8. Dawn Of A Bright New Nothing
10. It’s Not A Party Until Someone Breaks Your Heart
11. The Hour Of The Wolf