How does a band attract the attention of Mike Clink, producer of Guns N' Roses' Appetite for Destruction — one of the most iconic rock records of all time? Apparently, all it takes is a testosterone-laced, post-grunge sound that combines aggression and melody into a loud commercial package. The aptly-named Crushed is no Guns N' Roses; the Arizona-based band actually sounds more like a potent combo of Alice in Chains and Cheap Trick. But based on the 14-song debut, My Machine, these five dudes have the attitude and chops to further their own (and Clink's) reputation.
That ain't gonna happen right away, though. My Machine comes off as a confusing album, one made by a band unsure whether it should follow or lead. Many songs sound formulaic and are hastened by either a down-tuned 'n' dirty groove or some rough 'n' thrashy shouting, and much of this music could simply get lost in the mainstream mix — if My Machine even makes it that far. All of this is too bad, because guitarist Mike Halland, well, crushes with several of his solos, and the rhythm section of bassist Michael Brown and drummer Jeff Garten weave in way more intricacies than you might expect. Even vocalist Mark Layer, especially when he tames his voice, is a cut above the singers who typically enjoy all the airplay on American radio these days.
So the promise is definitely there. Next time out, though, Crushed needs to come up with more above-average songs — not just an above-average producer.
1) What Kind of Life
6) Crash Coping
7) Further Down
9) A Game of You
10) Everything's Gone
14) Bell Hooks