All-star power pop rock act The Crunch are poised to release their sensational second album. After winning critical acclaim for the compelling mix of pop hooks and punk grit they served up on 2013’s debut ‘Busy Making Noise’, vocalist Sulo Karlsson (Diamond Dogs), guitarist Mick Geggus (Cockney Rejects), bassist Dave Tregunna (Sham 69 / Lords of the New Church), and drummer Terry Chimes (The Clash) wasted no time in returning to the studio and recording the follow-up. Now expanded to a five-piece, with regular live collaborator Idde Schultz joining full time on vocals and keyboards, The Crunch will unleash sophomore effort ‘Brand New Brand’ on April 30th, as a CD, LP and download.
The new record retains and builds upon many of the hallmarks established on ‘Busy Making Noise’; most notably an enviable knack for huge, power-pop hooks, and massive, memorable blasts of melody. Once again, Sulo’s lean, concise songwriting cuts straight to the hook, on songs which never outstay their welcome, and rarely hang around for much more than three minutes. The title track, with its surging riffs and rhythms, and dusting of bubblegum-glam handclaps, offers one fine example of the fizzing, infectious energy The Crunch’s quick-fire approach can create. Meanwhile, the likes of ‘Lonely Beat of the Heart’ prove the band’s penchant for classic, uncomplicated songwriting does not preclude either clever experiments with structure, nor opportunities to show off the kind of superior musical skills that come with their collective years of experience. Echoing its lyrical themes in its form, ‘Lonely Beat...’ is a showpiece for The Crunch’s rhythm section, with Dave’s booming basslines and Terry’s legendary pounding percussion underpinning a thundering, heartfelt chorus, which hears Sulo reflect on loneliness and heartache.
At the same time as developing the strengths heard on its predecessor, ‘Brand New Brand’ also introduces some new elements, and, in particular, capitalizes on Idde’s talents, to bring a fresh dynamic to several tracks. Sulo and Idde’s sparky vocal interplay is a delight on duets such as ‘Banner of Faith’; an exuberant highlight, where Idde playfully bats lyrics back and forth with her vocal sparring partner, and seamlessly introduces a doo-wop inspired interlude. On ‘Solid Rock Steady’ she confidently takes over lead vocals, lending a Runaways feel to this passionate paean to rock ‘n’ roll, while her keyboard parts add fresh melody and depth throughout the album, not least on the delicate ballad ‘Barricade Blues’.
The Crunch proved on their first album that they’re as comfortable delivering well-crafted ballads, as powering through go-faster-striped punk rock, and ‘Brand New Brand’ now brings another crop of evocative slow-burners. One standout is the immense ‘Save The Glow’, which swells from an understated, semi-acoustic opening, into a swaying, lighters-aloft Mott The Hoople-style anthem, with Mick breaking out a stunning solo at the song’s climax. Also providing a change of pace are the mellow reggae rhythms, which pepper punky rally against the ruling classes ‘Go Back To Go’, and serve to introduce ‘Neon Madonna’ – the first single to be taken from ‘Brand New Brand’ on March 23rd.
At the core of The Crunch is a deep love for rock ‘n’ roll in all its forms. From the moment of the band’s conception during a spontaneous jam session, at which time none of the members were looking for a new project, The Crunch has always been fuelled by an intense, shared passion for the power of a good tune. As such, it may be fair to consider ’25 Hours a Day’, their love song to music itself, to be the centerpiece of the second album. It’s a poignant track, which hears these veteran road warriors attest that, after all the ups and downs they’ve experienced in their long careers, they still can’t find enough hours in the day to indulge a passion for playing, which shines loud and proud throughout ‘Brand New Brand’.
In the run-up to the album’s release, The Crunch will play the following live dates;
Weds March 25th – LONDON, Koko
‘I Need A Dodge! Joe Strummer On The Run’ premiere, feat. The Crunch.
Adv. tickets £25
Weds April 29th - LONDON, The Borderline
‘Brand New Brand’ release party, w/support from The Pukes
Fri May 1st - LONDON, Oi Oi! The Shop, Camden
Acoustic in store performance (7pm) and album signing
‘Brand New Brand’ tracklisting; -
1) Lonely Beat of the Heart
2) Limited Edition
3) Neon Madonna
4) Banner of Faith
5) Brand New Brand
6) 25 Hours a Day
7) Solid Rock Steady
8) Seeing Is Believing
9) Barricade Blues
10) Return to Form
11) Save the Glow
12) Go Back To go