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Published: 2013/08/01
by Brian Robbins

Crushed Out
Want To Give

Cool Clear Water Records

The Black Keys; The White Stripes; The Bonnevilles; Henry’s Funeral Shoe – just to name a few: blues-fueled guitar ‘n’ drums duos are this time around’s answer to the classic power trios of yesteryear. Brooklyn’s Crushed Out deserves a spot alongside the best of the best of ‘em: guitarist/vocalist Frank Hoier and Moselle Spiller (drums and lead vox for much of their new album Want To Give ) have carved out their own place in the double-barreled band world. Whiffs of everything from vintage Dick Dale surfiness and Phil Spectorish drama is woven in with punk recklessness and Stonesy grittiness on Want To Give. Hoier can beat the snot out of his guitar in total Joe Strummer fury – then turn around and coax a gentle, reverbed sunset out of it; Spiller pulls a BIG beat out of a minimalist drum kit – and has a set of pipes to match.

On “Weigh You Down” Spiller punches out her vocal like Patti Smith in her prime over Hoier’s tremolo chatter and her own wumpthumping drumbeat; “Temper Tantrum” roars like Deborah Harry fronting The Sex Pistols; “Push Down And Twist” launches with a mean-assed Bo Diddley riff before veering into total hand-clap sunshine; and “Shake Can Well” will inspire you to do just that.

“Sharkbite” may be only a little over two minutes long, but it’s a total sonic kaleidoscope of what Crushed Out can conjure up for sound. Hoier and Spiller bang gears from reckless single-string-and-snare sidewalk blues to beach-blanket-wobbed-around-the-ankles dance party effortlessly (I coulda sworn I heard the chug from Heart’s “Barracuda” in there somewhere), doubling up for a muttered vocal before things spiral off in a cloud of thrashing guitar and drums.

The album is nicely bookended: “Want To Give” ushers the album in with cool suspended chord crunch and a rollicking backbeat; on the other end, “Country Star” says goodnight with a dry and intimate in-your-lap mix and acoustic arrangement.

“I want to be a country star,” sings Moselle Spiller, her most delicate-sounding vocal of the album. Ma’am, I believe you and that fella of yours could be anything you want to be. You’re awfully good at what you’re doing.

*****

Brian Robbins peers through a kaleidoscope over at www.brian-robbins.com

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