I won't be the first to say it, but this
doesn't sound anything like what you'd expect from an Icelandic band.
Benny Crespo's Gang plays extravagant, heavy rock music – more
Mars Volta than Sigur Ros. Vibrant and impassioned, they
possess energy in droves, smartly producing
chugging guitar chords and frantic vocal melodies. The approach may be
a tad alt-rock for indieheads, but it's still damn melodic and
impressively explosive, and that's certainly worth something.
The gang has an overt
penchant for sprawling, progressive epics, as evidenced on the
nearly eight minute climax-then-stroll of "Shine" and the chaotic
intensity of extensive "Numb Face." The approach can be a bit
overwhelming at first listen, although the band's spirit turns out to
be remarkably infectious; this, of course,
is partly due to the immediacy of the pop hooks on offer.
Although the lengthy epics comprise some
of the better moments, additional strong moments include potential
single "Next Weekend" and impressively aggressive "Johnny's Got a
Baby." As well, ten minute "Conditional Love" is a startling, varied
journey that even dabbles in more typically Icelandic, delicate
trip-hop. Overall, Benny Crespo's Gang's new album may not have
the hip appeal of some of Iceland's signature acts, but it
is nonetheless an
impressively intense listen, as well as an astounding technical
journey to boot.
NXNE INFO: Benny Crespo's Gang will be
playing on June 19 at the Neutral Lounge as part of Toronto's North by