For Desert Psychlist the hard/classic rock of bands like KISS, Van Halen and Aerosmith, although very good, always came across as a little bit like an American attempt to emulate the British heavy rock grooves of the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. For us, here at Stonerking Towers much more interesting was when American bands like The Allman Brothers,The Outlaws and The Grateful Dead strived to add a little of their own country's culture to the mix, blending their hard rock grooves with elements of soul, jazz, bluegrass and country to leave the listener in no doubt of the music's North American origin. So why are we telling you this, well the answer is that, despite the doomic dynamics of their self titled debut, Texas trio Crypt Trip, Ryan Lee (guitar/vocals), Cameron Martin (drums) and Sam Bryant (bass), have been steadily moving, release by release, towards this more organic and honest American sound, a sound that is born from the musical diversity of its populace, a diversity reflected and celebrated on each and every song of the bands latest album "Haze County" (Heavy Psych Sounds).
The mushrooms, armadillo's and motorcycles that adorn the cover of Crypt Trip's latest opus, perfectly capture both the mood and vibe of the music therein. Crypt Trip have come a long way from their early proto-doomic beginnings, in fact if you didn't know any better you could well be fooled into believing there were two Crypt Trip's, one a hard rocking combo with stoner leanings , the other a country/southern rock band in the mould of The Allman Brothers and The Marshall Tucker Band.
"Haze County" kicks off with "Forward", a twang drenched instrumental chock-a-block full of catchy guitar hooks and motifs and sounds not too dissimilar to something the great Dicky Betts might of penned in his days as an Allman, "Hard Times" follows, a song that goes through more changes than a supermodel at a fashion show, the band seamlessly shifting between tempos, time signatures and dynamics with an ease that defies description, Lee's smooth vocal tones the one constant holding it all together. "To Be Whole" goes for a more straightforward classic rock groove, securely nailed down by Martin's industrious percussion and Bryant's busy solid bass, with Lee's vocals and superb guitar work the icing on the cake. "Death After Life" finds the band hitting into balmy psychedelic territory while "Free Rain" mixes up the psychedelics with some good old rock'n'roll swagger. Next up is "Wordshot" a country tinted medium paced rocker that is followed by "16 Ounce Blues" a song that, to these ears, channels a touch of early Eagles Californian sunshine in its execution.. "Pastures" is a finger-picking acoustic delight, enhanced by some achingly beautiful pedal steel from guest contributor Geoff Queen, that paves the way for closing song "Gotta Get Away" a track that adds to Crypt Trip's already cram packed resume an element of Spirit type late 60's pop/psych sensibility.
Crypt Trip have with "Haze County" finally shook off the stoner/hard rock tag, that had many mentioning them in the same breaths as Sweden's Graveyard and Witchcraft , and have embraced the roots of their own countries musical history. The fact that the band have shifted towards this new direction gradually and without some sudden sea-change means that we as fans have been privileged to take that journey with them, a journey that may have started with a thick distorted crunch but has slowly evolved into a hearty southern fried twang.
Check it out ….
© 2019 Frazer Jones