Crystal Kicks - 7 Track Demo

I'm curious about the recording history of this 7-track demo by Scottish band Crystal Kicks. The quality is decidedly variable, which gives the impression that it has been recorded over a fairly lengthy period as the later tracks sound distinctly better.

Opener "Misery" starts things off admirably with a high energy blast of screaming guitars and the singer spitting the lyrics out with conviction, many of the remaining tracks follow a similar blueprint. What worries me with this CD is the occasionally disastrous vocals. I don't mean to have a go at the vocalist here as it's clear that not only can he sing, he sounds like he'd be killer in a live environment. However, there are two tracks "Sex TV" and "One Last Time" that painfully highlight his limitations. He sings the verses using just two or three notes and none of them are in a range he's comfortable with! He sounds like he's singing them with a gun to his head and on the former, the deep breath and off-time start to one of the lines exposes the fact that he's really struggling. The verses need some serious reworking to play to his strengths.

If it were me I'd cut this down to a 2 track single consisting of "You Said You Loved Me" and "Shine". Both of the tracks show the entire band firing on all cylinders. The melodies on the former will make it a real crowd pleaser and the instrumental break during the latter does an excellent job of showcasing the guitarist. The quality in these two tracks shows that the band has real potential, but I'm not convinced many people would have the patience to sit through the preceding ones. 4 out of 5 for those last two tracks. 2 out of 5 for the rest of them.

by Phil T.

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