Abe Vigoda | Crush

Post Present Medium (2010)
By REYAN ALI  |  September 28, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Over the past three years, Abe Vigoda have made some serious progress, going from California kids making cryptic but pretense-free DIY clatter to the sole opening band on one of Vampire Weekend's national tours. Trailing them on that rise has been "tropical punk," a joke term that a member of Abe came up with to describe their music. Problem is, tropical punk so cleverly encapsulates 2008's Skeleton — unkempt rock coated with the luminous gleam of unusual guitar effects — that it's become a legit go-to phrase when discussing the band. Last year, Abe Vigoda's Reviver EP nudged the tag away by playing with more-sinister elements. Now, Crush tries to shove it out a fifth-floor window. Glittery synths color everything with the dank glow of post-punk and goth rock. The old sense of production chaos is absent, replaced with precisely carved feelings of mystery and gloom. Guitarist/vocalist Michael Vidal still moans and groans like a feistier incarnation of Robert Smith, but his voice is far more mature and worn than it was on Skeleton. Most of Crush swerves in odd directions: a song might begin by strutting and making itself up as it preps for dance-floor theatrics, then suddenly break down and be overcome with feelings of listlessness and despair. The band do fluidly navigate between ideas and structural experiments here, only occasionally overdosing on their newfound taste for moping and melancholy. In short, Crush turns tropical punk into a simplistic and inaccurate characterization. And escaping that albatross means good things for Abe Vigoda's future.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Los Angeles, Punk Rock,  More more >
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