Cripple And Casino – With High Regards
From the Moonlee Records stall comes a band from the homeland of Croatia that is inspired by American independant rock, named Cripple And Casino. The boys from Zagreb have been around since 2007 and this is their second album With High Regards. Their music is a documented form of sophisticated audio violence, noisy and mainly loud.
Inspiration is drawn, according to their bio, from whatever is between Sonic Youth and Jawbox. The vocals by Petra Dražić do make the resemblance with the first ofcourse, although they sound a bit less typical and distinct than those of Kim Gordon. Apart from that there’s a clear love for creating walls of sound and doing things differently, while creating a feeling of tension. Think of Fugazi as well and we got it. To promote the record they’ll be touring with the band Storms.
The noisy, messy sound, that gives this band it’s typical flavor, starts in dissonant guitar sounds with a sudden roar from Petra on ‘…And Gentleman’, after which a feast of guitars bursts lose. Vocals are one moment whispered, the other shouted. Every song is like a little story in itself, with a certain dramatic tendency and feeling of discomfort, also on ‘Of Adam’. The growl is back on the song ‘Brand New’, which sounds like grey clouds gathering, where ‘Et idéal?’ has an almost unpleasant, whiny sound. Also this song demonstrates the vocals aren’t the strong point in this band, at least not in this song.
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Some cool, jangling guitars and a laid back bass loop, give ‘F 23’ a nice, relaxed vibe, but there’s always a feeling of darkness to the music of Cripple and Casino when the fury relents for a moment. The band truly knows how to do what they do, though there’s not much surprise to it. There’s this “laid-back-no-care-ever” vibe to the music, which also has that dark city life feeling. The production is raw, which at times sounds very consciously done on songs like ‘Not You’ and ‘Rusted Old Chains’, which has more of a melodic, punky spirit to it. Saša Relić (Storms, Don’t Mess With Texas) did a good job with that in the mixing and recording.
All in all, this is a great record. If you like that noise rock, with a bit of hectic guitar play like on ‘Bigger Man’, you’ll want to check this band out. I do get annoyed by the vocals a bit, but the diversity makes up for a lot of that. It’s the clean, stretched parts on ‘Crystallize’ that prove the point I’m trying to make. If you do love Sonic Youth, check this band out. Trust me, Cripple And Casino are worth it.
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