Oakland’s Crush play self-described “musclegaze“, something they made clear beyond all doubt on their self-titled debut just this last January (that EP is available for your collection on 7″ via Mayfly Records). The new EP, aptly titled Crush II, juxtaposes a dense, thoughtful ballad, with a noisy banger of a track. Opener “Soviet Life” is laced with acoustic guitars, and beautiful hooks sung in harmony by both vocalists- “let’s destroy the government, just because there’s punishment”, the song ends with triumphant, sustained chords, chords that embody the “musclegaze“.

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These are songs whose upbeat melody belies their content; the lyrics concern feelings of estrangement and alienation. Matched with the sparing art of Bay Area based artist Jeffrey Cheung, the band emphasize these feelings while also placing themselves in camp with others who have used Jeff’s iconography to represent themselves. The style is strongly associated with Oakland acts Meat Market and Unity, bands whom Jeff is a member of and who use his distinct visual stylings for their fliers and album art.

This is required listening for anyone with an appreciation for guitar leads, clever arrangements, and just general “powergaze”; catch them later this month at Thee Parkside with King Woman, Happy Diving, and Never Young.

King Woman, Happy Diving, Never Young, Crush
Thee Parkside
July 24th, 2015
9pm, $8, All Ages