Without a doubt, Crackstatic is the Rusty Nails' most cohesive effort to date. The production talents of Toronto rock god Ian Blurton lent themselves well to this project -- the magic touch that Blurton had with the Weakerthans' Left and Leaving carried itself over to make the pop/punk songs like the first single ("Bite Down Hard") more concise, and the heart-wrenching balladry of "Rumours and Whispers" all the more haunting. The sonic highlight remains the perfect vocal harmonies between Ron Hawkins and longtime collaborator Lawrence Nichols. Hawkins has grown immensely as a songwriter since leaving the Lowest of the Low in 1994. Although Hawkins' writing styles remain varied, there is not as wide a range of styles on this album as there were on the first release from the Nails -- Greasing the Star Machine -- and this is a good thing. The result is an album that flows nicely and the listener is never put off by being subjected to a punk song following an introspective ballad. The only track that seems out of place is the blatant, upbeat love song "Beautiful Chemistry." The idea behind the word "crackstatic" is that radio listeners become so frustrated with the tight parameters of radio programming that they kick the radio until it produces static -- ironically, "Bite Down Hard" was well-received at commercial radio, right across Canada, debuting at number 74 with a bullet. With Crackstatic, the Rusty Nails have really come into their own -- crawling out from the shadow of Hawkins' former band, once and for all.
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AllMusic Review by Daniel Malich