The Crash Engine - Extravagaria
Record Label: Minute Morning Records
Release Date: October 9, 2007
The Crash Engine are a three-piece band from Portland, Oregon who write consistent, yet technically simple rock songs, and Extravagaria is their first full release following two self-released EPs. They have an alternating music style between being catchy and more solemn, and having this ability certainly opens up doors for them before the album is even released. It came as a surprise to fans that the debut album does not include the fan favourite "The Sky Retreats"; the members felt they wanted to progress and mature slightly away from their previous sound. The album could well appeal to a variety of different people and can be placed in many genres, but whilst being aurally easy to listen to, it also leaves the listener desiring just a bit more from this band, who obviously have that potential.
Opener "Mari Anette" is pretty forgettable, and the singer's voice far from excels here, but second track "Scavengers!" bursts onto the scene with a catchy riff, strong bassline, and dark lyrics. The song escalates into a catchy chorus and finishes off with a short solo, and it overall proves to be one of the best tracks on the album. The attempts to sound slightly more melancholy, however, do not quite hit the spot in the same way that a Death Cab for Cutie song would; they merely sound like the band has just slowed the tempo and turned down the volume, allowing the singer to display his vocal range. While frontman Alex Heller proves that he can hit some impressive notes, softer offerings like "Learn to Kill" and "1982" fail to really stick out on this record. The band also attempts a more punk sounding song with "Feel the Oblivion," which sounds better than the indie efforts, but still fails to quite make the grade.
The best track on the album is "Weary Anthems," a song in which the band finally excels in putting together all of their positive musical aspects with a distinct riff and, as the title suggests, and anthemic chorus.
While Extravagaria does in some respects give you what you asked for, it doesn't really stray outside the band's comfort zone enough, and more time needs to be spent expanding on the potential they definitely get. This isn't a bad album, it just doesn't quite fulfill.