Crab Smasher’s music isn’t as gleefully violent as their name might suggest. Based in Newcastle, the duo released two documents of their pop-inflected experimentalism last year: a Trapdoor Tapes cassette vividly entitled Doom+Doom=OMG!* as well as this twenty minute EP. Despite its brevity, *Impossible Monsters – their tenth release to date – manages to cram at least eight largely contrasting styles across twenty minutes, with a sense of wistfulness permeating most of the proceedings.
Wistful, because despite Crab Smasher’s noise-orientated means their music is ultimately approachable and illustrative. While it’s common for bands of Crab Smasher’s ilk to extend their abstractions over a longer period of time, to give ideas the opportunity to crystallize, these guys don’t stuff around. The two opening tracks start the EP on harsh terrain – clinical white noise bursts puncture through barely-audible hum on ?I Am Error?, while ?Killing With Kindness? wields scraps of noise in a more confrontational and less ominous way. Pleasantly enough, ?The Moon Rattled Inside Her? takes a complete left turn into bedroom pop cum science fiction soundtrack, while ?A Sad Day For Everybody? recalls Italian instrumentalists Larsen in the way the slowly paced rhythm breathes starkly and threateningly, mapping the ascendancy of noise and murk in the mix.
Indeed, it’s these colourful contrasts that make Impossible Monsters a compelling, if slightly puzzling listen. There doesn’t appear to be any common thread running through these tracks, and often the brevity of the tracks can be frustrating. Still, Crab Smasher get it right most of the time because they have the audacity to do what isn’t expected of them, and if that means sometimes they lose a bit of focus, that’s a worthwhile compromise.