The booty-shaking lo-fi heroes in the Cripples deliver a fine slab of revivalist new wave on their first full-length record, Dirty Head. Avoiding the emphasis on electronica that permeates the Detroit scene (Adult., Midwest Product) or the political motivations behind many of their other contemporaries (Chicks on Speed, Le Tigre), the Cripples instead inject their particular blend with a healthy dose of garage rock attitude. Cooler-than-thou vocals, a gritty production style, and a productive guitar/synth relationship make for a hep little album that could easily bust into Jon Spencer territory at any minute. Always on the verge of a noise freakout (but never quite biting the bullet), the band has a manic energy that seeps out of every song. From their intense, slow-building tracks ("Erotic Hard Rock Record Collection") to their sugary sweet pop ("Contraception"), the Cripples can't help but engage the listener by adding an extra edge to every aspect of the music. "Down Again" is synth-driven emo rock that effortlessly replaces guitar with intense keyboard parts, "Dead Baybee" is an anxious pop track with a hypnotically descending riff, and their cover of Rapeman's "Super Pussy" is a funky track that delivers groovy bass/synth interaction with hardcore drumming and ear-shattering guitar. By just allowing themselves to be noisier and more aggressive than their contemporaries, the Cripples made a standout record that makes a strong impression.
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano