Somewhere between the release of its first album, Skeleton, and the sophomore album Crush, Abe Vigoda seems to have traded in all of its afro-pop and world music records for a collection of disco singles and Cure albums. More specifically, the quartet has left behind the tribal/tropical/world music guitar and drums and added gummy-sounding synths and upbeat tempos in their place. Much of the album sounds like an update on Skeleton (minus the world influences), with careening guitars and drums splattering all corners of the mix, reverb coating everything with a wet haze, and Michael Vidal’s voice becoming much more of a focal point. Songs like the rampaging trio of tracks at the heart of the album -- the title track, "November," and "Pure Violence" -- sound like Skeleton 2.0 with a tighter sound and bigger hooks. Much of the album strips away any semblance of the debut and goes in a much more sonically restrained, emotionally melodramatic direction. Some of these tracks aim for the bedroom, as in "pull your covers over your head and mope." “Repeating Angel” sounds for all the world like a lost Cure b-side circa Disintegration, as it has the same haunted vocal, rippling guitars, fat synths, and trapped-in-a-dungeon atmosphere. "We Have to Mask" and "Beverly Slope" both follow this same basic template, too. Other songs head for the dance floor, like the pulsing, jittery "Sequins," which opens the record in a clutter of drums, very fat synths, and a good time vibe. In fact, the first three songs on the record all sound built for indie dance night at the local college hangout, especially the built on a 4/4 house drum machine pattern “Throwing Shade." The end result could have sounded like the work of a very schizophrenic band, but varying stylistic approaches complement each other and the album hangs together as a whole. This owes a lot to the sustained energy the band brings to the tracks, but it’s also a result of the excellent songs that have both instant hooks and deeper resonance. So many bands grow boring as they grow up; Abe Vigoda has grown artistically and shifted its sound without losing the core of what made the group interesting to begin with. Crush is a fully realized progression, and one of the better indie rock albums you’ll hear in 2010.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra