Seattle’s Grave Babies aren’t as evil as their moniker and new album art for Crusher makes them out to be, in fact there are some pop nuggets here buried under the clangs, distortion, synths and eerie vocals.
The brainchild of Danny Wahlfeldt (who does all the writing and recording) shows from the drop that there is a distinct sound and ethos he is looking for. The production can be odd, drums sound incredibly thin in moments while the bass will be extra meaty in front of the reverb vocals, but this overall esthetic seems vital to the goth/pop Wahlfeldt is shooting for.
The tracks are mostly brief with impulses running their course without sticking around to do too much damage like the dentist drilling guitars on “Skulls”. However when the band lingers positive results are found. “Over And Under Ground” sounds grandiose with fuzz and darkness all around while Crusher high point “Pain Cycle” calls to mind moody Nine Inch Nails.
“Slaughter” moves into dreamy territory with a touch of Morrissey via warbling synths, while “No Fear” has a poppy industrial dance party vibe. These solid tracks can make the “evil” tendencies on songs like “Blood On the Face” seem a bit hokey in full context.
Wahlfedlt and crew have crafted a layered goth/pop, industrial-light release that could have kids breaking out the black leather and massacre as soon as they spin Crusher.