Cranston Foundation
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Cranston Foundation

Band Rock Reggae


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"Cranston Foundation CD"

Cranston Foundation CD
Review by the Minds Eye in Nanaimo

By Tamara Cunningham

Looking for a unique blend of rock, punk, reggae, and hip hop to plug into your sound system this summer? The Cranston Foundation, an Indie

band from Calgary, AB has created "Communication," a CD teeming with head knocking music. The band has been rocking notable shows like

the Kokanee Summit in Creston, BC, and the Vans Warped Tour. They’ve opened for popular bands like Headley, Treble

Charger, Bif Naked, Swollen Members, 54-40, Default, and Wide Mouth Mason. And now audiences can take home

the high energy show and powerful rhythms with this latest


The CD isn’t just for diehard punk/rock fans. Ska, reggae,

or hip hop music lovers will also love Cranston Foundation.

If you’re looking for some hot rhythms to listen to this

summer then plug in The Cranston Foundation's CD "Communication."

- Minds Eye in Nanaimo

"Communicate Review"

The Cranston Foundation

Despite a 10-year career and a rabid following most Calgary bands could only dream of, The Cranston Foundation is usually dismissed by local hipsters as a “rap metal” band. Never mind the obvious fallacy in snubbing an entire genre; the real irony is that Cranston’s sound contains far more punk and reggae than either rap or metal, as is evident on their third full-length release, Communicate.
Granted, vocalist Rick Polson takes a number of turns as an MC when he’s not harmonizing or shouting hardcore punk, but it’s more reggae-style toasting than straight-up rapping. Singer/guitarist Alex Black lets out some Fred Durst-style squawks when he’s yelling, but most of the time he puts his golden voice to use with strong, catchy melodies. And the band’s lyrics deal with unity and social responsibility rather than breaking stuff.
I do wish Polson wouldn’t cop a Jamaican accent though–it doesn’t sound fake, but I know he doesn’t talk that way. I complain just as much when Calgary country singers take on a Texas twang.
Regardless, Communication is solid, sincere, and commercially viable, and is getting some mainstream radio play across Canada (though Calgary commercial stations wouldn’t play Led Zeppelin if they were local). This is sure to further hurt Cranston’s “cred,” but I doubt they’re very concerned.
Ben Curties
The Reflector
Mount Royal College
- The Reflector/ Mount Royal College

"Cranston Foundation : Music"

Once in a while a group comes along and blows your mind with something you don't quite know how to describe but can tell is special. With a unique mixture of melodic reggae, energetic retro-punk and smooth, welcoming hip-hop stylings, the boys put out a sound few can turn away from. Fresh off their latest release, Communicate, The CRANSTON FOUNDATION is starting to come into their own.

"What we have noticed since our first album is that playing better is key," explains bassist Jeremy Dows. "Musically, we are much more mature and this comes from greater effort. At some point you just realize you have to do more. Mainly our goal is to create an album that you can listen to front to back."

With a huge following that only gets bigger with every live show, The CRANSTON FOUNDATION has been trying to get their sound out to as many people as possible. With any luck they'll be able to gain even more rabid fans and make the push to larger recognition.

"We're still a small group," Dows points out. "We all are working towards career jobs as our fall back plans. The band consists of restaurant managers, city workers and painters."

With a West Coast tour coming up in January, the band hopes to continue on their musical passage and bring in some new listeners. Crediting much of their reggae and punk stylings to influences like The Clash, Dows explains the almost meditative appeal of the style of music.

"We loved sitting and listening to loud bass-pounding reggae," he says. "On top of that, we are really big punk fans as well. Reggae is really just a slowed down form of punk."

With other influences including the Mars Volta and At the Drive In, The CRANSTON FOUNDATION is looking forward to their mid-winter tour and hopes to once again snag a few days on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. With momentum growing over the past few years, the band has opened up for groups like Sweatshop Union, the Smalls, Treble Charger and Swollen Members to name a few. Their sound deserves attention and should command both respect and inspiration from music lovers everywhere. For anyone who hasn't heard them, it's a definite must in the near future and for the already dedicated following, they can simply sit back and enjoy watching the band continue to grow both independently and commercially.

December 08, 2005
by Logan Niehaus, AP Editor

University of Calgary Gauntlet
- University of Calgary Gauntlet

"Smooth operators are rock solid"

Smooth operators are rock solid
Cranston Foundation communicates their message with hard chords

Friday, December 9
Broken City

Of the five smooth operators who compose the ranks of Calgary’s own Cranston Foundation, singer-guitarist Alex Black and bassist Jeremy Dow have the longest history together. Retracing a partnership that reaches back to their earliest musical dabbling in high school, Black feels satisfied that the band’s current incarnation, featuring guitarist Amos Bradley, drummer Jack Abad and vocalist Rick Polson is their strongest to date.

"Jeremy and I go back a dozen years or so. We were always goofing around with music, and as we got older we gradually became more focused and got better. You know how it goes," Black muses. "We used to be called Cranston Field, back in those days. We kept the name for awhile, but after some major sound and lineup changes it was time to renovate, and ‘Foundation’ had a nice ring to it," he says with a laugh, and adds jokingly. "No, we never had any formal affiliation with the Calgary band Field Day, but we are associated with (their guitarist-singer) John Hiebert! Now that we’re comfortably locked in with Rick, Amos and Jack, it feels really good, and I can’t see anything about that changing."

The dynamic energy of the Cranston Foundation’s previous releases, SubUrban and Natural Knowledge, and their reputation for coming through with roof-raising live performances, has distinguished them as an up-and-coming group to watch out for on Calgary’s musical scene. But it is their latest CD, Communicate, that takes them to the next level of artistic achievement.

Engineered under the guidance of award-winning producer Brandon Friesen of Studio 11, Inc., this new effort proves to be quite unlike anything we’ve heard from the Cranston Foundation in the past – 12 tracks of hard chords and smooth grooves augmented with reggae-tinged vocals and psychoanalytical lyrics that probe the brain and elevate the spirit.

The entire album resonates with youthful exuberance and creative talent yet untapped as Black and company tear through songs like "Movement Revolution," "Police" and "Loose Cannon." Surging rock-steady rhythms and metal-drenched power riffs readily intermingle with the combined forces of Polson and Black’s divergent vocals. The real magic behind Communicate is the incredible tightness of the Cranston Foundation’s tempo changes, seamless transitions that shift gears without succumbing to the melodramatic perils of the typical soft-loud route (I’m looking at you, P.O.D.).

"We are definitely into the reggae, but other rap-metal bands have tainted the genre for us. We don’t want to be swept up in that sappy pop category either," says Black of his band’s transformation. "We knew we had to change and evolve out of that oversaturated market. So we agreed to tweak our sound and move it in a natural direction.

"I think we managed to duck out from under that noiseslide, and we’ve worked really hard to avoid being pigeonholed. Rick's spittin’ vocal style gets mistaken for rap by some people, but only a few. Actually, we are getting more into the dub thing, which is more melodic. I think it shows that we’ve matured. "

Giving a nod of the head to the inspiration provided by a divergent variety of sources, including acts such as At the Drive-In and Manu Chao, Alex Black acknowledges that his band has taken on a more sophisticated sound, one that reflects their evolving tastes and sensibilities. The icing on the cake comes in the form of the beautiful artwork that adorns their new album cover. Striking imagery and a tastefully modern colour palette only enhance what is sure to become this local band’s calling card to success.

"Pablo Puentes the bass player from Recipe From a Small Planet, just happens to be a childhood buddy of our bassist, Jeremy,"explains Black. "We asked him to take a listen to our new album and roll with it and see what he could come up with! His mixture of human and animal images was just perfect! Another example of friends helping friends," he says with a chuckle.

"I hope that people will appreciate our new stuff and come to see the fun live and get a preview of what we’re working on next. Whether we’re laying down the hard grooves or mellow vibes, we want the whole thing to appeal to everyone. That’s the solid underlying thing that we’re trying to accomplish, no matter what the mood – your head should be bobbin’."


"Cranston 'Communicate' Review"

Artist: The Cranston Foundation

CD: Communicate

Home: Canada

Style: Rock/Reggae

Quote: "If this CD doesn’t speak volumes to you, then the problem is on your end, pal."

By Dan MacIntosh

This is one impressive CD. Its stylistic combination of rock and reggae isn’t a new one, as acts like P.O.D. and others have attained commercial success with these very same elements. Even so, this group’s tight arrangements and urgent songs make this release something truly noteworthy.

Songs like “Loose Cannon,” “Mass Confusion,” and “Who Will Take The Blame” could just as easily be played, although less well, by your neighborhood punk band. But The Cranston Foundation never loses the melody, nor does it overload these tracks with too much instrumental noise, which leaves it sounding like a lean, mean, music-making machine.

This package’s colorful artwork is also worth noting. Its splashes of color create something that looks both painted and animated, which is equal parts eye-catching and effective. It all adds up to one dynamic visual and musical presentation; artistic factors sorely lacking in today’s mostly dull musical atmosphere. If this CD doesn’t speak volumes to you, then the problem is on your end, pal.

"How's the weather out there?"

Cranston Foundation live review

The funk-reggae-punk combo that is The Cranston Foundation played Heroes Pub Wednesday night to a rapt audience.

The Calgary band returned to TRU after playing on club day in September to support their latest CD, communicate. The Cranston Foundation dazzled the hundred or so people in attendance. The crowd’s enthusiasm, although not overpowering, caused lead guitarist, Amos Bradley, to proclaim them the best Wednesday night crowd he’s played for.

The five piece band played two sets of 45 minutes, with rhythm guitarist Alex Black and occasional bongo player Rick Polson sharing lead vocalist duties. Vocally, Polson switched between reggae, rap, and hardcore while Black added a decidedly punk voice to the eclectic band. The resulting sound was enough to prompt some crowd members to dance, a rarity for a Wednesday night concert.

Throughout the set the band switched between reggae, punk, ska, hardcore and funk, sometimes all within the course of the same song. The group’s smooth transitions and long set displayed an experience and maturity rarely seen at Heroes Pub.

Often the band would crank up the volume and launch into a punk rage only to slam on the brakes mid-song and reverting to mellow reggae and jagged, cutting guitars. While a risky approach, the band pulled it off and, though few music critics seem to have heard the band, if The Cranston Foundation ever makes it big you can expect critical raves from coast to coast.

The only downside was Heroes’ sound quality, which occasionally resulted in overpowering distortion.

The Cranston Foundation, who were on their way to Vancouver to play a couple shows, have opened in the past for Can-rock stalwarts such as Treble Charger, I Mother Earth and 54-40.

The band is beginning to build up a dedicated following in Kamloops and shows such as Wednesday’s epic will only enhance the band’s local stature.
- Tyler Olsen/ UCC


Communicate (July 2005)

Natural Knowledge 2000
Sub.Urban 2002


Feeling a bit camera shy



Cranston Foundation has delivered a sophisticated and sincere offering with their newest album Communicate. The record showcases a powerful rhythm section with strong hip-hop and reggae sensibilities. Jeremy Dows bass and Jack Abads relentless beats are the perfect foundation for Amos Bradley’s strong and tasteful guitar playing which in turn, support the unique and controlled vocals of Alex Black and the powerhouse MC style of Rick Polson.

Cranston Foundation is a well-respected, well-established band that consistently packs houses. Their music is a perfect blend of originality and accessibility and the lyrics are clear, considered and meaningful. They perform an entertaining high-energy show with a tightness and style possible only through years of focused playing.

The bands live spirit was captured and translated to album by multi Juno award winning and Grammy nominated producer Brandon Friesen of Studio 11 Inc. Brandon has been credited with ‘Studio of the Year’ and ‘Engineer of the Year’ from the PMA’s and has produced over 300 bands from every genre. This experience served Cranston well as there style blends rock, ska, punk, reggae and hip hop into a truly unique listening experience.

Some of the bands notable shows include the Kokanee Summit in Creston B.C., where they took home the top honors and performed at the Vans Warped Tour. After their latest release, they were quickly showcased on the nationally syndicated ‘Budweiser Radio’ hosted by George Stroumboulopulos. Cranston won West 49 and Much Music’s February battle of the bands and are on regular rotation on Sirius Radio as well as being featured in XM Radio, (Radio Unsigned) in January as the only Canadian act on the list. They have opened for MxPx and Headley, the Smalls, I Mother Earth, Treble Charger, Bif Naked, Swollen Members, 54-40, Default, Sweat Shop Union, Wide Mouth Mason and Chixdiggit to name a few. Cranston Foundation also readily donate their talents to charitable functions such as Rock against Racism, Rock for a Cause and the World Trade Centre Relief Benefit.

"...tight, high-energy shows and socially conscious music...Cranston Foundation have combined their punk, rap and dancehall influences in a way that transcends the dated Limp Bizkit
sound of the '90s."
CHART Magazine

“12 tracks of hard chords and smooth grooves augmented with reggae-tinged vocals and psychoanalytical lyrics that probe the brain and elevate the spirit.”
FFWD Weekly

"Once in a while a group comes along and blows your mind with something you don't quite know how to describe but can tell is special. With a unique mixture of melodic reggae, energetic retro-punk and smooth, welcoming hip-hop stylings, the boys put out a sound few can turn away from."

The entire album resonates with youthful exuberance and creative talent yet untapped as Black and company tear through songs like "Movement Revolution," "Police" and "Loose Cannon."- CHRISTINE LEONARD (FFWD).

Management by Norm Wilson
Dark Rider Entertainment