CRAYON: Brick Factory: LP

Mar 18, 2015

Crayon were an early ‘90s lo-fi twee punk band from Bellingham, Washington. They thrived on zine culture and shared the stage with Superchunk and the Melvins. HHBTM have lovingly reissued their album, Brick Factory, which has been out of print for years. Besides the LP, the download code also includes twenty-one extra songs from compilations and various singles. Upon my first spin, I am immediately struck by the similarities to Sebadoh. (The liner notes point out that Lou Barlow once “cited the album as one of his favorites of the year.”) The guitar playing is sparse and minimal, while the vocals are shrill and aggressive, like a disgruntled sixth-grader. Crayon only partially grew on me after repeat listens. Songs like “The Snap-Tight Wars” and “Reason 2600” are delightfully understated and sincere like scrappy Silkworm or Guided By Voices, but the amateurishness and high-pitched vocals verge on aggravating during “Hope in Every Train,” “Crown,” and “Knee-High Susan.” I suspect that if Crayon pushed onward then subsequent records would have featured more mature songwriting. As it is, Brick Factory is only for collectors of lo-fi indie punk of the ‘90s ilk. For everyone else, Crayon may leave you tickled but unsatisfied. 

 –Sean Arenas (HHBTM)