From the opening of the punky "Hello New York," the opening track on Crimson Sweet's debut full-length, Livin' in Strut, it's instantly clear that the band is highly energetic. After a series of singles and an EP, the New York trio of Al Huckabee (drums), Polly Watson (guitar and vocals), and Robbie Kongress (bass) raised the stakes with this 11-track disc on San Francisco's On/On Switch Records. On the third track, "Still Glistening," they briefly turn down their normally fierce and frantic pace. Like with most punk bands, the slower song still carries a notable amount of edginess and gritty overtones. They return to their staple sound on "Airport Novel," with Watson's vocals sounding strained and raw. Over the ruckus, the band's melodic and poppy punk finally shines through. It's clear by this point that the rhythm section has been together for a few years, producing numerous unforgettable moments of churning indie punk rock since their debut in 1999. On "White Heart," Watson's blazing guitar and composed vocals could easily have placed her in the midst of the elite women of punk rock in the late '70s, had she been born earlier. The disc ends with "Sad Walk at Knifepoint," an eerie and contemplative album-closer.
Livin' in Strut Review
by Stephen Cramer