Tag Archives: grunge

Crosstown Chameleons – Plato’s Stepchildren


Plato’s Stepchildren is an album from Miami based band, Crosstown Chameleons. The group describes their music vaguely as being “rock oriented,” but that is actually a very apt characterization for the band’s sound, which isn’t east to compartmentalize.

Plato’s Stepchildren (possibly named after the iconic episode of the original Star Trek) is very chameleon-like in that it stylistically varies from song to song, occasionally even within the song. If I had to classify it though in the general sense I would say that it has a very 90’s rock sound, somewhere between grunge and avant garde alternative. The opening track, Summer has a peppy and bright power pop feel to it. Musicians are always taught to put their best stuff first because otherwise people will stop listening. I have no idea if Crosstown Chameleons are intentionally following that advice, but Summer immediately left a great impression. It’s probably my favorite song on the album, but I haven’t made up my mind completely.

The most comprehensive jam on here is Leather, which shapeshifts impressively throughout its 4 minute runtime. It begins with kind of arthouse, brooding performance art vibe and flashes to a heavier, amped up sound featuring a lot of warm guitar distortion and maximum crunch. The song continues transitioning through various styles. I’m not sure how they managed to make this collage work, but it comes out cohesive and memorable, a small masterpiece. I think this is the song which best embodies the band’s 90’s avant garde aesthetic.

Hope For the Universe has more of a hair band rock sound, with epic vocals and glam guitars. The best way to describe it is it’s the kind of song that would be playing during the climactic scene in a late 80s teen movie. Earth and Sky has a straightforward, adult contemporary rock ambiance, reminiscent of works by The BoDeans or even Third Eye blind, while Blackjack has a funky, night club, rock’n’roll lounge vibe.

Part of the reason the band is able to effortlessly incorporate aspects of different genres into their songs is that they appear to have achieved such a mastery over their instruments. There are so many killer guitar parts on this album, that you start to take them for granted. For example, Back to Life has some of the most colorful and vibrant guitar tones on here, and if I were writing about a different group these would be the highlight of the review, but as it is they’re just footnotes here. There are just too many interesting things happening on these recordings to mention them all. The vocalist on here is also pretty impressive. He displays a ton of versatility and range, really pushing the limit. At times, just when it seems like he’s about to bite off more than he can chew, he manages to pull back and hold steady right to the line.

Overall, this album provides a very panoramic and fulfilling listening experience. It’s a worthy enterprise from some skillful veteran musicians who seem to have no shortage of darkly creative energy.

For more info:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CrosstownChameleons/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CrosstownCham

InCrest – The Ladder The Climb The Fall

InCrest - LCF

The Ladder The Climb The Fall is the latest album from InCrest, a Danish grunge-rock trio. With a sound that takes it’s influence from the early 90’s golden age of alternative rock, the album manages to capture that essence completely, while still leaving enough room for the band to have a distinct musical identity. One might not expect that a Danish band could emulate the Seattle sound so convincingly, but InCrest has done just that. The Ladder The Climb The Fall often alternates between grunge and hard rock, sometimes blending the two. The opening track, No Second Chance has a peppy kind of “speed grunge” feel to it, in contrast to some of the dreary, dragging pace and whiny tone that’s often associated with lighter alternative music. The faster pace songs on this release remind me a bit of stuff from groups like Rollins Band. It’s cynicism and commentary but with balls. After the opening song, the album settles into a more conventionally paced heavy grunge style with Nightcrawler, (a song which boasts an excellent, attention grabbing guitar intro.) This is actually my favorite track of this release and from a quality standpoint ranks right up there with the top hits of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam (though it’s probably not going to get the same level of exposure and recognition.)

InCrest 1

One criticism that’s often (usually unfairly) leveled at grunge bands is that they’re less skilled at playing their instruments, and that this is masked by the heavy distortion. That’s certainly not the case with InCrest. On this album they give a polished performance, displaying a lot of artful musical detail and precision timing. Even the vocals are right on point. The final song on the album, Neversleep is a good example of the softer, delightfully detailed musicality the band is capable of. One final note is the production quality on this album is major label tier. This is not some lo-fi, Sebadoh styled kind of obscure, indie art project (although I love that stuff.) In the right place and at the right time, this music would be on the radio and the band would be giving jaded performances in stadiums.

For more info:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/increstband
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/62aBY8dAPPlwJ6fjthyLmN