The Crimson Star – New Road EP

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Reviewed by Paul Broome

Self-Released

The debut five track EP from Birmingham-based rock four piece rock outfit The Crimson Star. Title track ‘New Road’ kicks in with a confident riff before settling into an Alice in Chains-esque verse riff, the vocals riding on the back of the bucking riffs with the guitars the clear boiler house (a theme that continues through the EP). This is a band that dwells on the good time rock side of grunge – don’t expect introspection and esoteric noise collages. ‘Hey You’ falls a bit flat (literally in places) after the opening track, but is rescued by an enthusiastic solo and a great little dual middle-8 riff.

‘Some Other Way’ reinvigorates proceedings, with a nice little Southern Rock acoustic intro leading to another ballsy riff. The vocals are also stronger and more confident on this track than on ‘Hey You’… and I do have some issues with the vocals in places on this EP, but I think it’s more related to the way the vocals are recorded and mixed than the actual performances. James Shaw has a nice rasp and urgency to his delivery, and I think he’s been given short-thrift at times – seems almost like most of the recording effort has gone into ensuring the guitars sound great (and they do). Indeed ‘Shine On Me’ exhibits the unique qualities of his voice well – the break down in the middle of the song offers another dimension to the band’s sound too. I just think the vocals need to be ‘pushed’ a bit more.

All in all an accomplished debut, but the path it is treading between classic rock and something more modern is a little precarious. Personally I think their strongest moments are when they push harder and more confidently toward the latter – as in the bombastic closing track ‘The Greed Effect’, which is heavier, meatier and just really very satisfying.

The Crimson Star - New Road7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. New Road
  2. Hey You
  3. Some Other Way
  4. Shine On Me
  5. The Greed Effect