Oh Last.fm, how I love you. If you’re not already aware of the website I’m referring to, Last.fm is one of the many social networking websites on the internet, centering solely on music. In a nutshell, it’s the Facebook for die-hard music fans. The music you listen to is tracked and catalogued, enabling you to reach out and connect with others who share the same taste in music. The feature on the site that brings us here, though, is the recommendations that are made for you; and not the loose kind that iTunes and Amazon often attempt. The accuracy that this site’s capable of is truly impressive, and I can honestly say that I would most likely have never come across Crucial Dudes anywhere else.
In the grand scheme of things, Crucial Dudes is yet another one of those Pop/Punk/Hardcore bands out there. But unlike the majority of mediocre projects out there, these guys have really honed in on what it is that makes this style of music so great. Not that they’re the only ones – bands like Transit and Such Gold have received their notoriety for these same same reasons, but I think it’s finally time for Crucial Dudes to get their fair credit.
Straddling heavy and upbeat sound, 61 Penn is to-the-point and over in 20 minutes. As a result, the songs are, for the most part, high in energy and fairly aggressive, while still leaving room for a slightly lighter side as well. It’s a nearly indefinable line they tread, being heavy, but not heavy, and upbeat but not stereotypically so, and that’s what makes them stand out so much. “Doubt” and “Boom Roasted” kick off the album with their more aggressive demeanor, not the least of which are Jason’s vocals, conjuring up musical similarities to PA’s Title Fight. It’s this kind of intensity that is then built upon with “Through Being Crucial”, peaking towards the end with the kind of soft-core breakdown that often goes under-appreciated.
Things take a turn soon after, bringing out the band’s more fun-loving side of writing. The speed of the initial tracks is still there, but on songs like “Contour” and “61 Penn”, you can’t help but notice their lighter qualities.They’re the kind that brings to mind the time when this style of music was new, and bands like Saves the Day and At the Drive-In were just starting out. And before any judgements are made, Crucial Dudes do bring their own take to the table, making 61 Penn as refreshing as it is familiar.
Alongside their emotive musicality are the lyrics. We can debate for hours about the state of originality or lack thereof in a lot of today’s music. It’s easy to write off a band when they, of course, sing about a girl, relationships, etc. But Crucial Dudes are one of the exceptions, because they sing about more than your standard romance problems – their subject matter is about self-reflection and the uncertainty of life, something that I, and I’m sure others, can relate to, and I’m glad that there are still bands coming out who can strike that chord.
I honestly don’t know how I haven’t seen these guys pop up anywhere else before. With 2011 being the monumental year it’s been for new bands getting the recognition they deserve, I would really like to have seen Crucial Dudes be amongst the more talked-about artists. They’re still pretty new, so we’ll just have to wait and see how things work out for them in 2012. You can check out 61 Penn on their label’s Bandcamp Page, where it’s streaming and up for sale for $5. If you’ve had any interest in this year’s many flashback albums, I’m fairly confident you’re going to become just as much of a fan of theirs as I have.