For some reason I thought the Alley Crabs were going to be a punk band. Maybe it’s the image on the album cover for The Crab Tape which some would call offensive or the fact that one of their songs is called “Beach Scum” and apparently according to the band that's the genre of music they play.
After spending some time with the album their sound does feel derivative of their location - Irvine, California. There is this sunny beach vibe to these songs that makes you want to hang out at a bonfire and sip on a margarita.
They start off with with the song “Beach Scum” which is somewhere between The Strokes and surf rock. The guitars are clean and catchy while the vocal melodies are equally as catchy. Luckily, the band goes off course for about the last forty seconds rocking out with some distortion pretty hard. “Ends” opens with classic ’60s sounding lead guitar but once you get to the verse it sounds closer to ’90s alternative. The song turns out to be a jam session with a number of inspired instrumental parts.
“Cali-Dab” is just a fun song and has the best guitar solo on the EP which comes at the end. “Beta” is a straightforward indie rock song. Up next is “The Grind” which feels distinct because of the production here as well as the vocal style. I wasn’t a fan of the vocals. The guy sounds pretty pissed, then kind of tired. I’m not sure what was going on here. They close with a highlight entitled “Spaced Out” which sounds like nostalgic ending to a summer night.
Alley Crabs seem like they would be great to see live. Good, unpretentious fun. Although The Crab Tape is scattered and could certainly benefit from a better recording quality the album conveys the energy the band has.
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