Crimson Star – ‘Bay View’ EP Review

 

Recorded with Romesh Dodangoda (Bring me the horizon, funeral for a friend), ‘Bay View’ is the latest EP from Birmingham-based rockers Crimson Star. Drawing comparisons with QOTSA, Muse and Royal Blood in the press release does help to place the band’s ambitions, although more pop-infused streak flows through the tracks than might be expected from such comparisons. Comprising five tracks, the EP is laden with potential.

Kicking off with lead single ‘The Pragmatist’, it’s easy to see why the three-piece have namechecked Royal blood with their bass-heavy sound and fx-augmented lead breaks. With shimmering leads, gritty (in places) vocals and plenty of dynamic shifts it’s easy to see why the band chose the track to be their lead song, although I prefer the dense, dark ‘La Prom’ with its reverb drenched guitars and heavy use of the toms. With a gargantuan central riff and a verse that strips everything back to drum, vocal and Roger Ash’s sinuous bass lines, ‘La Prom’ has a fire to it that, whilst it may veer a touch close to Royal Blood’ dense sounds, still manages to get the blood pumping.  An EP highlight, the angular riffing of ‘Once’ sees Crimson Star move into pastures new, adding a touch of stoner groove to the soaring melodicism of the Foo Fighters. It sees the band’s clear potential reach out towards the speaker-wrecking groove of ‘Euthanise me’, a monstrous, Sabbath-loving track complete with psychedelic verse and foundation-threatening percussion. The brief EP comes to its conclusion with the surging ‘Gimme some’, although the track once again sees the band opt for the quiet-loud dynamic that can be found across the EP and which may prove to dominate the band’s song-writing if they don’t nip it in the bud in advance of a full-length offering.   

‘Bay View’ is an interesting EP in that you can almost hear the band’s song-writing develop over the course of each track. Where the first two tracks sit rather too much in thrall to the band’s influences, from ‘once’ onwards, there’s a greater sense that the band are seeking out their own identity and it is at this point that they start to shine. That said, the somewhat over used dynamic shift form bludgeoning chorus to stripped-back verse could become the band’s Achilles heel if they don’t vary the form a touch on a lengthier outing. The production leans a little too heavily towards that dense, Orange-amplifier sound for my tastes, not least because it’s a sound that seems to be used by all and sundry at the moment, but the EP is otherwise exceptionally well recorded with plenty of depth and power. All in all, ‘Bay view’ is a worthy and interesting EP that highlights the much of the band’s potential. Not, perhaps, a classic in its own right, it points the way to a brighter future and I have no doubt we’ll be hearing more from Crimson Star in the future. 8

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