Crow Eats Man – Crow Eats Man – EP Review
Stone Temple Pilots. Rage Against The Machine. Alice In Chains.
Those are three of the main names being thrown around in comparison to the sound of Crow Eats Man, a five piece band from the San Francisco Bay area. Considering I know the material and music of those three bands off by heart and spent every second of my life immersed deeply in every album, EP & single they all ever released…I’m more than excited to check out a band inspired by those same sounds I grew up on & love. Not gonna lie…it definitely sets that bar for success pretty damn high, but I’m excited all the same at the sheer potential in a combination like that…let’s see how the new self-titled EP came out.
YUP. That’s what my ears are telling me instantly…both for the nod to the combination of style/sound & influences that have been cited in comparison, but also a huge enthusiastic gesture of genuine support – you can hear the kickassness in this band immediately as their lead single “Jaded” starts the experience. You get a classic RATM intro between the meaty guitar riff and crisp snare that joins in quickly to start the intensity moving quickly, then it breaks into much more of a Stone Temple Pilots approach to the writing and sound overall with wicked rhythm & presence from the bass thickening the music and the vocals delivering a stylistic approach with oodles of tone and swagger like a Weiland-esque influence would imply. The breakdown in this opening cut is brilliant – and Crow Eats Man comes back with a serious vengeance throughout the song’s second half from there, establishing their own twist on the ideas, style & sound overall, giving us an all-access pass to the core of what makes up their own identity. Single-worthy? You bet your ass it is – “Jaded” gets this EP started with gripping hooks, confidence and commitment in their music & vocals and an approach that truly sounds like they’re ready to go all-out.
“Lost Sun” quickly confirms those suspicions. The influence of guitars from Alice In Chains, Weiland-tones in the vocals and RATM-like storm & stomp of the chops on display through this second cut are all right there to be heard – and while a lot of people might quickly dismiss the merit of a song that can include so many clear influences in its idea and sound…well…don’t these guys get some severe credit for being able to combine all these sounds together into one so successfully? The argument that Crow Eats Man is any kind of carbon-copy would be flat-out ridiculous…you get genuine snapshots of the music that has undoubtedly played a role in their lives collectively along the way, but the way that they’ve threaded these influences into their own sound is actually quite an achievement as far as I’m concerned. Best way I can think of putting it would be to point out the fact that, if it was announced tomorrow that a new supergroup was going to be launched with members of AIC, RATM & STP – you’d listen, wouldn’t you? Hells YES you would – and that’s exactly what Crow Eats Man sounds like here – they sound like the continuation of great ideas in that next phase of their evolution…just like those supergroups often are. The history of music is full of building blocks that are just waiting to be taken to that next-level in a modern-day setting…and even though most of their influences are still rocking today in some capacity, there’s no rules that say you can’t add to the ideas if you’ve really got something to bring to the sound – and that’s exactly where Crow Eats Man comes in. “Lost Sun” brilliantly uses the grunge-era hooks with a more current alternative vibe that sounds just enough like the one we love with enough of a new shine of the production & approach to the writing that doesn’t just fit in with the ‘now’ sound – a band like Crow Eats Man could start a full-on revival of some seriously great rock music out there, all over again. Listen to that WICKED guitar solo on “Lost Son” – I mean c’mon right? That’s as right into the moment and gripping as audio-entertainment gets, all on a song that had everything working in its favor to begin with already. The vocals absolutely slay the ending of this second cut and certainly right into the following tune “Before Sunday,” adding a noticeable Cornell-twinge to the vocals that creates a memorable aspect of his approach, tones & sound on these cuts. Who is this guy anyway? Sebastian Sanchez according to what I’m reading here…brother-man, you certainly deserve an award or two…at the very least a high-five from someone over there…I think this guy does an exceptional job of emulating some of the best out there while still truly providing his own identity, sound and style at every turn. Like I was saying…you can’t accuse these guys of being any kind of copy when you hear the way they’ve put their sound together at the end – you’ll hear a track like “Before Sunday” and again be forced to acknowledge that Crow Eats Man is that next exciting step in Alt/Grunge that many have been waiting for. “Before Sunday” is my unsung hero of this entire EP…it’s less flashy than some of the rest, but man is this tune MEATY. They certainly take their sound to the heavier-side of the genres without a doubt, which of course usually comes along with a more uphill battle into the mainstream speakers…but truthfully, I’m not so sure that this band is going to experience much pain when it comes to that. First of all, they’d likely expect already that a heavier sound is always tougher to sell to the masses…I’m sure they’re realistic about that – but more importantly, I think Crow Eats Man is genuinely like a bold return to a lot of the sounds that are distinctly absent from today’s scene, but sounds that there are a TON of people dying to experience in their own generation, you follow me? It’s one thing to get an idea of what a scene like that would be like from listening to the records of any given part in music’s timeline – but it’s another altogether to get a chance to be there on the front-lines of one when it’s starting up. Not gonna lie – hearing the way that Crow Eats Man has come about all this madness fuels me with a hope I haven’t had for quite a while when it comes to the essence of the grunge sound thriving today.
A song like “Deependit” is an extraordinary example of what I’m saying…that’s the classic grunge sound done RIGHT for today’s ears…and there’s mad potential for people out there to really latch onto this. It does have the sludgy & dank sound you’ll likely remember from Alice In Chains, accented brilliantly by the guitars from Reku Heims & Elliot Hu, and you can hear that switch in the approach, tones & energy that Sanchez puts into his performance here as well to make that transition in sound a successful one. While I think the heavier hooks of “Deependit” are likely somewhat less-accessible compared to the rest of the tracks so far – I think the fact that Crow Eats Man sticks this alt/grunge combination with such relentless confidence, authority and genuine respect that people could completely decide to become rabid fans of this band overnight with just one listen. That’s how deep the well goes down here; you can’t help but admire just how convincing and organic their sound truly is – you can hear the obvious love of all their influences, but the end results seem so immaculately real and unforced that you can absolutely tell that these songs contain the authentic sounds that are born to come out of this crew. I’ve heard attempts at the grunge revival loosely along the path of these past five years – but nothing quite like this before – Crow Eats Man is kicking ALL the ass for me with their brilliant understanding of what made the sound work so well at its core and are committing to their own twists on the sound with such resounding confidence that you can HEAR these guys believe in the music, the sound & the songs.
Credit to Nick Coleman on the bass and Richard Barnes on the drums; it’s important to note that influences like RATM, STP and AIC all came with MASSIVELY underrated rhythm sections that generally led all those bands to their success just as much as any other part that got to hog all the credit – I’m not gonna let that happen here! The rhythm section of Coleman and Barnes have completely crushed it along the distance of this entire EP and really allowed the guitars to get inventive and the vocals to always put their best foot forward because they’ve been so rock-solid & reliable. Whether or not they were influenced by Dandelion at one point in time or not, who knows…not too many people really caught that band from Philly back in the grunge-days with all the other incredible noise going on, but some did. I listen to the way that Sanchez attacks the mic and the thick grunge/psych sway in the movement and atmosphere of “Fresno Cigarette Run” and I kind of have to wonder if maybe, just maybe, he’s heard those records and was one of the few out there to appreciate such a kick ass band. Musically, this cut digs-in harder than most of what you’d find from Dandelion’s later stuff, but something about “Fresno Cigarette Run” really reminds me of the raw energy you’d find in their earlier material when it comes to the wild doses of character and charisma on the mic. Sanchez has really put in extraordinary amounts of personality into each of these songs…you combine that with just how vibrant and committed each track is musically, and I’m tellin’ ya, this is all a recipe for complete success.
You get the bonus of “Jaded” coming back once more at the end of the EP in a ‘radio edit’ – which will give you all the awesomeness of the hooks and half the kickass amount of instrumentation and badassery of the original – so short of hearing this at random on the airwaves, do the right thing and experience the enormity of the original dammit! No knock against Crow Eats Man – we all gotta do what we gotta do to get our music out there…but if ever there was a case to support leaving the original ideas intact and making the WORLD deal with it – I’d say you just can’t beat the full-length “Jaded.” Ultimately, I’ll take the hooks and performance on this song in any way I can get’em, don’t get me wrong – I just have to boldly advocate on leaving this band alone to their own devices and letting the world catch up to them, win or lose. Leaving them to their own instincts is certainly going to lead them to that victory and long term success – I think Crow Eats Man has got all the right ideas, skills and talent to truly go the distance…and if that means getting one of their five-minute tunes out there – so be it! Boxing them into a radio-friendly package might be the only risk I’ve heard them take in terms of compromise potentially – but thankfully, “Jaded” is so fully-loaded at all times that it truly is welcome no matter which version you hear. I’m just trying to subtly tell the suits & ties out there that they really want to back off & let Crow Eats Man take the lead on what to do with their music at all times…because I think this sounds like a band in full control at every moment you’ll hear on their self-titled EP. Determination is sincerely something you can hear in a band or artist in any song when it genuinely exists – and I really believe you can hear that in every member of Crow Eats Man in how they approach their sound & play their role in it. Powerful debut EP all the way through – they’ve got the creative juice, a deadly amount of talent & skills, and they could seriously get people excited enough to get a grunge scene sparked-up & happening all over again.
Dig this crew. Find out more about Crow Eats Man from their official page at: https://croweatsman.com/