Review Summary: Brits put a modern spin on the D.C. scene circa 1990 and sound ready to break out.
With I Watched It From the Roadside
, it was a case of zero-to-fanboy in just over eighteen minutes. With their latest EP, Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea have established themselves as faithful Dischord revivalists while offering enough of a fresh approach to warrant calling them a band to watch out for-- all in the span of six succinct tracks. Though it was released toward the end of summer, the disc has proved to be a fitting soundtrack for autumn's chilly days, with its dense, moody riffs the perfect accompaniment to gloomy, gray skies, brisk wind and soaking rain.
The opening cut "Slow News Day" is an effective harbinger of what's to follow; its creeping, repetitive guitar lines and vocals which transition from world-weary in the verses to shouty and strident in the chorus are stylistic staples for the band. Though essentially quite simple, it's also effortlessly penetrating, recalling bands like Fugazi and Slint, if not merely in sound alone, in their ability to be simultaneously hypnotic and dissonant. "They Don't Mean Anything" continues the trend of jagged, needling riffs and understated aggression that bubbles up without quite boiling over.
If there's an outlier on the collection, it's the direct and less morose "Out in the Dark", whose shout-along chorus makes like And So I Watch Your From Afar with gang vocals. However, Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea bounce quickly back to form, offering the quick shot of classic post-hardcore angst that is "Like Mice in the Cellar" and perhaps the EP's strongest piece "That Drum's Discordant Sound", which showcases the band at their chilling and mesmerizing best.
Combining the fervor of Fugazi with the eeriness and dread of Devil and God
-era Brand New makes for a heady mix, and surprisingly, this melange of primarily American styles is coming from a band out of the UK. No matter, Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea are a criminally overlooked band standing on the brink, poised to create something truly spectacular. One can only hope it falls on eager ears.