“I say...alcohol must GO!”
The final words of the prohibitionist sound byte that is heard on the video for the first track on this new EP from Eastern Crank. Eastern Crank are an instrumental stoner and hard-psych outfit starring Brian Elmer, Johnny Moon, Scotty Lamere and operating out of Mud Flats New Jersey. Their new EP, entitled "Songs From The Suburban Archives", is out now and the following is what Born Again Nihilist wants you to know about it!
The record opens with 'Voodoo Flapper Queen', a fascinating name I must say. Some groovy trad-stoner riffing, peppered with subtle percussion ideas is our initial taste. Things quickly take a more upbeat turn but the oddly eastern sounding percussion ideas are maintained and developed. Finally, the three minutes or so come to an end with a sample of some scratchy, anonymous vaudeville music.
A more sinister 'Sonic Dream Lord' is next up. Delicate modulated synths sit under the thick guitars and the drums stay nicely off-kilter, meanwhile the bass sounds as if it too is bathed in fx. Just about halfway through, the drums take a turn for the technical with some double bass work, until it all breaks down into Oceansize style piano and electronic noise to lead us out and into 'Skyburn', which for me is the highlight on the record. The weird effected guitar tones, synth creations and trippy unpredictable drum patterns all collide for a sonic meal that sets you up for a day better than Weetabix sprinkled with cocaine (ask Zakk Wylde for the recipe!).
The drums are kept nice and high in the mix which was an excellent decision because they carry a tremendous energy, very apparent on 'Skeleton Wheel', where they guide the vibe of the track perfectly. And last we have 'Cosmic Pyro'. This one opens with minimal guitars on the edge of overdrive, flavoured with a touch of reverb, not unlike the old Isis sound. What we enjoy as the track opens up, however, is little like Isis. Some solid rock riffing in the Dutch Stoner vein which only continues for what feels like a short three minutes.
This, I have to say, is pretty solid stuff from Eastern Crank, of whom I was previously unaware so cheers for getting in contact lads! When a band makes the decision to go for the instrumental stoner route they had better be prepared to have an abundance of ideas to explore and Crank have that. They are also careful not to make the mistake of dragging out tracks far too long which is a constant danger in this genre. Although, having said that, there are one or two tracks I would have liked to have been longer. The fuzzed out and oh-so-thick guitars, complimented by the growling and rolling fx coloured bass, underpinned and driven by the endlessly inventive drums make for a heady brew of rock goodness! (I'm using a lot of food analogies, I must be hungry.) All made the more interesting by the subtle and calming synth sounds, which add a slight trip-hop dimension to the final product.
Keep in touch guys, if more appears we wanna hear it!
Eastern Crank - 'Songs From The Suburban Archives' EP
Rating – 8/10
For Fans of – Karma To Burn, Oceansize, The Obsessed.
Listen in here: http://www.reverbnation.com/easterncrank
By Edward Gerard Brophy for Born Again Nihilist 2011.