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Crash Kelly Penny Pills

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Monday, May 2, 2005 @ 1:40 AM


(Liquor & Poker Music)

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With a singer who looks and sounds a lil’ like Marc Bolan, a sound that’s a lotta Cheap Trick meets Sweet, and a ‘tude that’s just reeking of booze, blooze and tattoos, Toronto’s Crash Kelly saunter onto the scene with pouty vengeance. Taking some glimmer-glam and mixing it with hard rock muscle and punky swagger makes for a sleazy sound, as demonstrated by bands like the Wildhearts and or even recently resurrected Motley Crue, two bands I betcha Crash Kelly have in their collection in full (and on vinyl!) On Penny Pills, this four-piece outfit pays homage to their heroes and then some on a 12-song affair, complete with bonus music video.

Opener “She Gets Away” sets the stage nicely, with its hip shakin’ groove and sexy-snotty vocals, but things really get roarin’ on the awesome homage to Alice Cooper “Love Me Electric,” the album’s strongest cut. This tunes showcases everything the band
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is great at in one wallop: memorable hooks, big ol’ harmonies, massive riffs, and smarty-pants lyrics. It’s among the best slices of rock I’ve heard in a while. The title track is just pure UK glam circa 1973, complete with electric piano and cotton candy lyrics courtesy of leader Sean Kelly, while “11 Cigarettes” and “Wanna Be Like You” shows the band’s love for the Fab Four (the later sounding a little too close to Ginger’s lot though, if ya ask me). “You Don’t Know” and “Movie” are as KISS as any band has a right to be (the early years, don’t worry). The only real misstep here is “Irish Blessing ‘95” which is a sludgey pop take on…well….an Irish blessing. Not bad, just boring.

The end of the album is a bit of a hodge-podge, but fun nevertheless. “Something Hollywood” is a tasty instrumental that Jeff Beck would get a kick out of (and the heaviest thing here), while covers of Rainbow’s “Since You been Gone” and Cheap Trick’s “ELO Kiddies” remind us these guys were kiddies themselves in the ‘70s. All in all a rowdy, randy and rockin’ party that I would suggest rockers with a penchant for liquor, lipstick and lace attend.

* * * ½


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