Econoline Crush, much like Caroline’s Spine (see other review), was another one of the bands that got me into rock music. I was listening still listening to your standard top 40 ***, when my brother played the song “Surefire” for me. I later heard the song “Home” on a local rock station that my brother also pointed me in the direction of. I was hooked. This was some of the most awesome music I’d ever heard. My tastes have since grown to more technical and diverse music since then, but I still really enjoy this cd from time to time.
These guys hail from Canada. Where in Canada, I know not. If I recall correctly, they were actually on the brink of being relatively well known in the US but they just fell off the radar and then managed to release a relatively weak follow up, and I’m pretty sure they broke up awhile ago. Econoline Crush are not going to blow you away with unbelievable instrumentation or clever time signature changes. They write catchy songs, but not in a “I’m going to go down the street whistling this” sort of way. They get their point across, and quite well I might add, with straight forward songs, well-thought out lyrics, surprisingly good vocals, and simple and effective instrumentation. There’s a slight industrial edge to a lot of their songs, but I would not in anyway consider this Industrial. It’s just enough to spice of the songs a bit.
1. Surefire (Never Enough) (5/5)
This one fades in with a bit of a flange/chorus esque effect on it, and from then it rocks the whole way through. The drums have a very electronic feel to them in a lot of these songs and this is no exception. The lyrics are about two people who are never satisfied, and therefor can’t get along with each other. Pretty good overall. The chorus is pretty cool, just a catchy chord progression over Trevor singing “Never Enough, Now. Take it all away.” There’s a pretty cool breakdown in this song that’s followed by a simple but very fitting and well placed solo. Very solid song, and shows that Econoline Crush are probably going to use the ever-so-simple verse/chorus/verse/chorus etc. Song structure.
2. Sparkle and Shine (5/5)
This is probably the heaviest song on the disc. Kicks in with a very catchy riff that continues through the verse. The verse has an effect on Trevor’s voice. I don’t normally like effects on vocals, but this one is pretty well placed. The lyrics are pretty solid, and could be about a number of things (artists fading out, censorship, one last shot at a relationship). There is another simple, well placed solo in this song. This transitions very nicely into a last chorus, and we’re done. Rock
3. Deeper (3.5/5)
This one starts off with the sound of a rocking chair, which is fitting I think. This is a song Trevor wrote about a friend with AIDS. The lyrics are really good, I think, and the chorus is pretty “touching”, so to speak. This is one of the EC’s more melodic songs, except for a sort of ominous interlude in between the 1st chorus and 2nd verse. It sounds as if it’s going to switch up the song and keep progressing, but alas, they just jump right back into another verse/chorus. Damn teases. And That’s the song. Good song, I just wish they’d have carried off the interlude a bit.
4. Hollowman (3/5)
This one kicks off with some more electronic drums and an eerie kind of feedback going on over it. The drums really help to keep that eerie feel of the verses and bridge on this song. The first verse lyrics are good, but the rest is just sort of repetitive (namely the chorus). The drums going into the pre-chorus and in the chorus are pretty cool. The bridge just does some experiment with muffled sound effects in the background with different kinds of feedback. I don’t like it much, but the drums going back into the pre-chorus transition nicely. Pretty average song here.
5. Home (5/5)
This one kicks right in with the full band. Pretty good lyrics about not being good enough for a girl, but still being able to love her a lot. The chorus melody is pretty catchy, and the slightly audible keyboard in the background gives it a nice atmosphere. The 2nd chorus is a little differently lyrically, but other than that we go into a pretty standard bridge and back into a pre-chorus/chorus. The chorus of this song is what really makes it for me, it’s pretty cool. That and the lyrics hit the nail right on the head. I’m sure a lot of people can relate.
6. The Devil You Know (4/5)
This one starts off with the whole band again. The lyrics get slightly more abstract here, and are pretty good I think.
“Everything is a mess, I have come to confess
Sold out all my beliefs, I’m a liar a cheat
Search my soul in despair, callous heart is rubbed bare
How I wish to believe, in your innocent dreams”
I dig it. The chorus is a little more melodic before jumping into a slightly edgier second verse, as Trevor sings it with a bit more “soul.” I really like his vocals on this song. There’s a bit of an indistinct solo in the background of the bridge, but there’s a bunch of a electronic stuff. All in all it sounds pretty cool. The ending has the chorus and then repetition of “I am the one, the devil you know” being repeated over a synth sort of thing and some more electronics as it fades out. Pretty cool song, mixes it up a bit from the first half of the album.
7. All That You Are (1.5/5)
This is the low spot on the disc. Starts out with a spacy guitar coming in with a decent melody. The drums come in and it sounds promising. But I hate the lyrics for this song, they sound like filler to me. The chorus is pretty boring, with nothing much going on at all. There isn’t really a redeeming quality to this song at all except for the fuzzy guitar solo in the bridge which is kind of funky (for lack of a better term). This one actually got a lot of airplay here in Madison, but I could never get into it.
8. Burnt (5/5)
Here we go, this is more like it. Starts out with what sounds like a clean guitar riff layered with some effects. The alternating distortion is pretty cool. Simple, but effective. The drums are cool in this song. They ditched the electronic ones for the most part in this one, although they’re hinted at in the chorus. They’re pretty powerful in this song. This has the best chorus in the album. Very cool vocal melody. The breakdown is simple, but one of the highlights of the album for me. There’s a guitar solo in the bridge, simple but effective. Trevor’s screaming over the end of it as it leads back into the pre-chorus is pretty cool. The last chorus is pretty climatic, with the solo layered underneath it and Trevor belting out the vocals. Great song, best on the album.
9. Haven’t Gone Away (2.5/5)
This one is very much in the realm of The Devil You Know, but a little more rockish. Minus that ***ing track 7, this is the most poppy song on the album. The lyrics are decent, but the guitar lick in the verse is what I really like about this song. Simple but effective. There isn’t a lot to say about this song. It ditches the last chorus for an extended bridge...so that’s kind of nice. There’s another “out there” guitar solo thing going on throughout the end of the song, which helps to add depth. All in all, pretty average song.
10. Elegant (3.5/5)
This one starts out a lot like Surefire, what with the effect and all. This bothered me, but the only thing that is also like surefire is the repetive nature of the chorus. However, the music in the chorus is slightly more complex. The main riff in this song is pretty tight, very catchy. I’m not a huge fan of the lyrics except for the line “The cost of you, the bank resents.” All in all its a good song, but the lack of change in song structure and simplicity may start to wear around here for some people.
11. Razorblades and Bandaids (5/5)
This is probably my favorite off the album. Definitely the most straight-up rocking song on the album. The lead, simple but effective, is pretty cool in the song. Verses are acoustic with some soft singing from Trevor. Musically, the pre-chorus and chorus are pretty tame, except for Trevor’s singing, which gets more passionate as the song goes on, until the end when the whole band just rocks out. The bridge is just the intro lead part, but it serves as a cool interlude as well as an intro. The last chorus, like I said is rocking and closes the album well. Especially since the lyrics deal with the end of a friendship/relationship. The lyrics, I might add, are very good on this song too.
So there you have it. Econoline Crush’s “The Devil You Know” delivers some very solid songs with only one rather weak one. Nothing complicated, just good and catchy song writing.
Solid, catchy song writing
Music gets the point across
Trevor’s vocals are very good
Songs have a fair amount of variety in them, There’s something for everyone.
You can get this cd for $.01 on amazon
Straight forward song structure may bother some
General lack of technical musicianship may bother some
Some might not like the hint of Industrial music they have at times
Econoline Crush was...
Trevor Hurst - Vocals
Robbie Morfitt - Guitars
Ziggy - Guitars
Robert Wagner - Drums and Percussion
Don Binns - Bass and Acoustic Guitar
Statik - Programming