Peter Prescott self-effacingly mentions in the liner notes to Bumper Crop that Jon Williams and Jeff Weigand left the Volcano Suns "...to do something constructive with their lives." Although the ever changing unit's third record features new blood in the form of guitarist Chuck Hahn and bassist (and future engineer extraordinaire) Bob Weston, Bumper Crop is a return to the sound of The Bright Orange Years. Like the band's debut, Prescott is responsible for nearly all of the songwriting. (Occasional associate/member Gary Waleik co-wrote one song.) There's increased focus, although that's not such a good thing in this case. Decreased tempo variation and the trio's proclivity to bang things out in unison without providing much space makes the record sound a little too mashed. The songs sound rather indistinguishable from one to the other. With a couple wild and wooly exceptions, the majority of the decent Bumper Crop plays at a medium pace throughout. Hahn's guitar lacks Williams' punch and doesn't sound as distinct, but Weston's rumble is established as a proper anchor, locking in with Prescott's drumming. The overall sound is thicker and more forceful, but it lacks the excitement and unpredictability of the first and second records. It's missing that slightly ramshackle, loosely stitched together flow.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman