I first experienced the Crystal Antlers at last year's CMJ. I wasn’t there to see them; I was basically there to partake in the free drinks. The boozy hipster crowd was quite loud and sociable amongst themselves, until the Antlers strummed the first feedback drenched riff of their set and propelled head first into one of the most clamorous-yet-invigorating rock shows I had seen all week.
From that point forward, the attention was all on them. The high-energy mix of shredding guitars, pounding organs (that sounds wrong), squealing saxophones and shrieking lyrical delivery was an all-encompassing unruly performance that could not be ignored. It was a high energy; take no prisoners approach that I questioned if it would be possible to contain with in a studio album.
Finally, with their debut LP released on Touch and Go, I have an answer to my question. Tentacles is a riotous album from the six piece SoCal outfit, whose recorded songs are just as pummeling as they are in concert. But what is more prevalent in the album is how ambitious and heavily orchestrated these psychedelic, garage rock tunes powered by the spiraling, propulsive shriek of lead singer, Jonny Bell actually are.
“Dust” and “Time Erased” are songs that invoke late 60s garage rock, while “Andrew” is a great bluesy number that adds a little R&B swagger to their musical bludgeoning. “Tentacles” is just a ruthlessly delivered song equipped with a weighty prominent bass line and killer dual guitars soloing intermittently through out the song. “Until The Sun Dies Part 1” and “Memorized” are the spacey psychedelic songs that at some point remind me of the likes of Pink Floyd, until the signature Crystal Antlers shredding ensues.
If you are a fan of lo-fi garage rock with a classic rock edge then this is most definitely the album for you. It’s loud, in your face rock music that showcases an extremely talented band that is able to pull from many different genres and meld them in to an unique blend of rock that some how sounds vintage, yet new and refreshing at the same time.