Melted Bodies Vol. 1 by A. Crusher (Album Review)
Boasting stunning prowess both vocally and instrumentally throughout the duration of this record, A. Crusher creates a potent cocktail, laced with whatever disappointment, sadness, anger, or resentment there may have been lurking beneath the surface, following his exit from old band Local Natives, and uses the concoction to fuel an incredible exhibition of musicality and creativity never seemingly demonstrated to its full potential while making music as part of his old Californian 5-piece.
Following an understated and slowly maturing introduction, with a brief period of screeching feedback and mixed instrumentation acting as a small taster of what is to come, the ultra creative A. Crusher winds his record up and lets it go, allowing his album to gently spiral, initially, in the form of two tracks named Dull Boy and The Feast.
The first track carries with it a finesse highly reminiscent of esteemed Synth-Pop trio Miike Snow’s best work, circa 2009, providing a welcomed return to a sound lacking in much of today’s music: intertwining weirdly wonderful vocals and spacey, synth-laden melodies. The latter track wilfully carries the baton onwards and grows in depth, adding a Muse-like theatricality for an altogether bigger sound.
Next comes Pebbles Massive, a ballad of sorts that somehow manages to present solemn, Band of Horses-styled vocals alongside occasional visits to an infectiously sweet guitar riff, which successfully sets the tone for the undeniable originality found throughout the duration of this LP. If making a song that is catchy and touching in equal measure is tough then Crusher doesn’t make it seem so.
Fingering follows, with an almost Scissor Sister-like quality (dare I say it) and, along with its continued tendency to induce involuntary head-bobbing, presents a hugely satisfying mixed bag, with falsetto vocals, intriguing Oriental-sounding synth interjections and a steady, sketchy beat throughout.
Then, preceded by a slightly bemusing, though fitting, voicemail recording comes a change of artistic direction that is as hard to ignore as a steel toe capped boot to the shin; but one that feels absurdly satisfying. A garish, gurgling, twisted tale named I Do I arrives at your door and drags you out into the darkened street, leaving the jauntiness of The Feast as a distant memory, but not one you’re too eager to revisit, not yet, I Do I, with its background littered with wailing and chanting, beastly growls, haunting keys, and lyrics such as “I’m feasting on your brains / With somebody else on my mind,” is devilishly gripping.
Suddenly, like bolting upright from a fever-ridden sleep, comes a return to the calm of previous tracks, as again, again slows the tempo and presents a period of reflection. But as quickly as the anarchic raucous of I Do I had dissipated it returns again, this time in the form of an energetic anthem named Enemies (S.W.R.K.W.R.I.H). With a Wilhelm-esque scream to kick off the action once more, followed by heavy, rocky guitar use, A. Crusher unveils what is sure to be the perfect soundtrack to whichever high octane, neck-breaking, secretary-fucking, back-stabbing series captivates the nation next. Complementary life tip: if you wake up to this song in the morning, rest assured, you’ll get shit done.
However, once the titillating ride that was the previous track has reached its climax, signifying that we have successfully negotiated the last of the album’s thrilling, flirtatious genre-hopping, we find the tempo slowing down again with The Rug Burn: a gentle and unobtrusive love song that - as strange as this complement may sound - feels like the kind of track that post-millennium George Michael thought he was making, only with a level of depth (initiated by the sampled, and slightly warped, snippets of dialogue and extraneous sounds) untouched by previous artists of a similar intent.
The Basement follows in a similar vein, with eyes-closed vocals and an echoey transience which stalks many of the album’s slower-tempo songs, and as we reach the penultimate track we are greeted by another creeper of a track, cut from the same cloth: Dog, a relatively sedated, heartfelt ode to a loyal canine companion, whose constant presence in the face of adversity and loneliness is rewarded in the form of a beautiful, stripped-back disclosure, also rewarding the listener by subtly returning, in parts, to the delightful synth sounds heard in the album’s early tracks.
To finish, we see the artist make use of a short and uncomplicated, though ultimately pleasing, folk-like instrumental in order to wax lyrical on a few remaining thoughts and to say his thanks to the few collaborators involved in the project, signing off and stepping back into the darkened cavity from whence this artistic endeavour found its inception. Always leave them wanting more.
Having been a fan of Andy’s for almost half a decade, though perhaps somewhat indirectly at times, seeing his surprise departure from Local Natives in 2011 was nothing if not disheartening. But, if this whole narrative were a movie, and Local Natives was the golden-haired first love and the exit from the band was the not-so-mutual break up, then, boy, Melted Bodies must be the rebound of all rebounds.