(HHBTM) Two years ago, power trio Shade unleashed their mighty debut upon us, and hordes came a-clamoring to witness their supernova-rock. Now, fuzz-master Phelan LaVelle brings us the first tape from her other band. For the most part, Crunchy (the EP saw a limited release last year as Spicy World and was reissued recently via HHBTM) delivers just what we’ve come to expect from LaVelle and her drummer partner, Kathleen Duffield: grungy sledgehammer riffs and monster rhythms that turn on a dime.
The combined attack is pretty rad, but with just five tracks to play around with, Crunchy shortchange themselves by not trying anything else. “DUOP,” at least, stands out for its impish, Replacements-like glee and existential lyrical dilemma of realizing one has become a corpse. (Literal? Metaphorical? Who knows?)
But whoever mastered this thing squashed it into a pancake, dulling LaVelle’s voice and the edge of her bass. Maybe Crunchy wanted the tape to sound like a toss-off, but it’s frustrating to hear them hold back on tracks like the devilish “Doom Dancer.” Crunchy hits the spot if you’re starved for raw meat, but it’s too short to leave much of an impression.