Crazy Arm
Born To Ruin


4.0
excellent

Review

by Lardon Iridesco USER (12 Reviews)
July 27th, 2009 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: On Born To Ruin, Crazy Arm have found the perfect balance between a consistent sound, variety, aggression and melody.

Born To Ruin

Crazy Arm:
Darren Johns - Vocals, Guitars
Jon Dailey - Bass
Simon Marsh - Drums
Daniel Couling - Guitars, Vocals, Keys

The great thing about punk is it’s a genre that hasn’t been afraid to branch out. Bands such as Dropkick Murphys, Against Me! and Propagandhi (to name three modern examples) have proven that it is possible to include a wide range of influences and sounds whilst still retaining a punk-based core. The central punk ethos of individuality and rejection of conformity is often the thing that links all corners of the genre together, and it’s something Crazy Arm have in excess.

Like so many bands Crazy Arm’s beliefs are left-leaning (“Crazy Arm advocate a lifestyle in opposition to capitalism, imperialist wars, religion, xenophobia, gender inequality and animal abuse”) and this is what forms the majority of the lyrics on the album. So far, so Rise Against. But two things about the band’s politics immediately distinguish them from the rest, and they become clear as you flick through the lyric book. The first is the huge list of websites, including charities (Oxfam, Shelter) and many other political and social-welfare sites (Indymedia, NoBorders), that would be enough to make Anti-Flag blush. By looking at this alone you can see how deeply these causes run through the band. The second unique feature is the band’s style lyrically; they sit somewhere between Rise Against and Bad Religion, impassioned yet never preachy. In fact the lyrics are so well constructed and intelligently written that on first glance you wouldn’t necessarily know they were political in nature.

So Crazy Arm has beliefs, but what about their sound and the album itself? The first of those is an interesting one, the band themselves describe it as “Fugazi with banjos, but without banjos” and I think that’s a fairly accurate description. Every song has its punk riffs and chords, but also contains a large amount of slide and folk-tinged guitar. The two styles complement each other well and the catchy guitar parts are some of the albums highlights. Because of the atypical nature of the guitars, the drums and bass are given more freedom than just relying on standard rhythms and really shine in parts. The only area of the band I feel could be improved are the vocals, which sound slightly weak in comparison to the power of someone like Greg Graffin or the rasp of Tim McIlrath.

As for the songs themselves, every single one is significantly different from the last, be it the Queen-esque opening of “Kith and Kingdom” or the best riff Anti-Flag never wrote on “Reassure Me”. The relatively long running time (49 minutes for 11 tracks) means the band have time to mix up the structure of the songs a bit, stopping the monotony of ‘verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus’. A few solos (“Still To Keep”, “Born To Ruin”) and acoustic sections (“Born To Ruin”, “Blind Summit”) are also sprinkled around for good measure and variety. For me the standout track is the simply brilliant “Still To Keep”: great lyrics, use of the duelling guitars, rumbling bass, powerful drums and a terrific sense of melody cement it as one of the tracks of 2009. The album closes in atmospheric fashion with “Christ In Concrete”, a track that contains both chilling acoustic sections and some of the heaviest riffing found on Born To Ruin. The final minute of feedback run-off gives you time to contemplate what you have just heard: a debut album that is equally distinctive, gripping and outstanding.

On Born To Ruin Crazy Arm have found the perfect balance between a consistent sound, variety, aggression and melody. To achieve this first time around is a remarkable feat, so much so it is hard to see how the band could improve on their current formula. Crazy Arm deserve to sit alongside the present crop of new British punk bands making it big.



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user ratings (21)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
mikespooner (4)
Blistering debut from Plymouth melodic punk rockers...


Comments:Add a Comment 
mitch91
July 27th 2009


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Comments and improvements for the review please!

Digging: Solemn Sun -

Deathcar
September 6th 2009


1534 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very nice review, short(ish) but sweet.

Awesome album is awesome, nothing really to fault with it, though i'll have to see how it's replay value is over the next couple of months.

I'll pos.

mitch91
September 6th 2009


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cheers for the comments and pos!

I think there's quite a lot of replay value, the lyrics are quite deep and it's a good album to listen to if you've fed up of more conventional punk.

laxworld16
June 10th 2010


96 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just started listening to this band. They are pretty solid

Nice review

mitch91
June 11th 2010


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks!

I saw them supporting Frank Turner and they were awesome, I really hope they make it big. Also, I found out Tom Gabel's a fan (don't know what that does for their credibility haha)!

ConsiderPhlebas
October 19th 2010


6157 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shit this album rules

DurzoBlint
March 10th 2011


1182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its no empty days and sleepless nights though is it phlebas?

The album is great though.

mitch91
March 16th 2011


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My rating for this album has gone up since I wrote this review, can't wait for their new material in the next few months.

Jash
March 16th 2011


4244 Comments


dece review brah, pos cause im drunk and feelin kind

mitch91
March 16th 2011


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm flattered... haha

mitch91
September 11th 2011


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yep its brilliant, they've got a new album coming out in a couple of weeks too- check out the video for 'Tribes' in the news section.

mxbrady
October 7th 2011


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, this band is awesome.
Too awesome to be as unknown as they are in the punk scene.

Digging: Thrice - Vheissu

mitch91
October 8th 2011


410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks. Hopefully the tour with Against Me! will get them some more exposure, plus a few more tours with bigger bands would help. I guess you're probably aware of their new album, definitely worth checking out.



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