Crystal Antlers – Nothing Is Real
Tricky things, influences. You can reference all the Dinosaur Jr licks or Fugazi rhythms you want, but no-one ever fell in love with tasteful record collector rock. We want our ears blown out! Our hearts torn asunder! Our senses ragged and ruined and reborn while the riffs roll by! Even if their speculative shots don’t always hit the target, this Californian collective thrills so effervescently because they never aim for less.
Take the climax of Archers of Loaf-esque mosh-along Licorice Pizza, where the turbulence subsides and everything skids to an abrupt halt. A previously-undetectable sax skronks frantically; flailing messily like a body hurtling through a windscreen. It’s Nothing Is Real’s defining moment – the point where Crystal Antlers truly flick the safety switch to ‘off’ mode. Rattlesnake and Persephone provide additional boneshakers, but to prove the band ain’t just kids playing with matches, there’s wistful moments like We All Gotta Die that balance their brute force with admirable finesse. Pretty great, all told. [Will Fitzpatrick]