CRU JONES
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"Local Heroes: A ROADSIDE VIEW [CRU JONES]"


Palm Beach County-bred emo outfit Cru Jones responds to its electrifying 2004 debut album, The Conversation -- which showed a kinship to Saves the Day, Hot Water Music, and Jimmy Eat World -- with an appealing acoustic EP. And what began as a forceful rock and roll troupe (with a moniker that acknowledges the lead character in the revered 1986 BMX flick, Rad) has morphed, if only temporarily, into a stripped-down group in the vein of fellow Sunshine State songwriter Chris Carrabba.
Because of the limits of the wood and wire approach, this four-song disc may not be long on original ideas, but the unplugged tack is in many ways more approachable than the bombastic, over-the-top style its predecessor promised. Steered by frontman Terry Bloom and his brother Mike, the material here was allegedly crafted while they were on tour, in conditions that included a homestate hurricane and a New York blizzard. Cru Jones's reworking of the debut's "Love: A Roadside View (Travel Version)" is an emotive keeper built on shimmering guitar strums and a vocal approach that forgoes the genre's atypical whine. Arguably more impressive is "Rain, Rain," which houses a haunting but familiar mix of despondence and accessibility.

Lilting guitars, piercing harmonies, and ruminative vocals make their points on "Retracing the Steps of Our Stolen Summer," a tune that easily stands up against Carrabba's Dashboard Confessional songbook. Still, "This December Son," the EP's other inclusion, comes off as a missed opportunity. With its biting lyrics and Bloom's pained delivery, this song loses something without the cacophony of thumping drums and squealing guitars wrapped around it.

One hopes the Cru will return to the aural fireworks of yore -- at least part-time. This notion looks promising, because the band recently rebuilt its lineup after the departure of some founding members late last year. In the meantime, A Roadside View exists as an evocative and strong stop-gap experiment.

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/Issues/2005-08-18/music/localheroes4.html - By John Luerssen


"'the CONversAtiON'[album review]"

Amazing. Never mind that the Cru guys are some of the greatest guys I've ever met. I remember seeing these guys in a crowd of...oh, maybe 5, and I'm stoked when I see how far they've come.
I've heard most of these songs long before the album's release, but the new ones were quite a treat. Honestly, this whole album is damn near perfect, from beginning to end. Terry did an amazing job on vocals; it ALMOST captures their live energy.

Props to you guys...and come back to Northern VA soon.

- interpunk.com


"Absolute Punk .net Recommendations"

Cru Jones (http://www.purevolume.com/crujones)

- their bio says their music "hints at technicality but maintains a sense of pop with memorable harmonies and choruses." and i'd say thats dead on. and imagine what this band is like live..i can picture a hell of an energetic show just from their songs.

- chris march[absolutepunk.net]


"CRU JONES:The Conversation"

Now, I hate to dwell on the petty things like image or appearances or all the other things that affect bands these days that really have nothing to do with the music they play. However, this time I must take a step back and comment on the inherent value of the artwork that comes with a CD. Directly, it can be an asset or a deterrent, but indirectly, it can be the one thing that will bring an album to mind when it would otherwise be forgotten. Cru Jones’ artwork on “The Conversation” is engaging, organic, and very appreciable to the common person.

It isn’t a thematic collage or 60’s stripes and solids; rather it is a series of what looks like pastel paintings on various strips of roughly torn cardboard. There is no attempt to hide the fact that they are on cardboard, and the unpolished nature of these shreds makes for some great textures and colors. And while it may not be as time-consuming to take in as a detailed collage, the feel they give is much more alive, if you will. It is a shame, however, that the typeface choices for the lyrics and album information detract from the natural feel of the rest of the artwork. Nevertheless, I highly recommend doing at least a once over of some of these paintings.

Believe it or not, there is more to this album than a well-done booklet. In fact, Cru Jones plays a fairly mature and less-derivative-than-usual brand of emo. Singer Terry’s vocals are not the sugary, polished whines of others so much as the croons of someone actually stretching himself vocally to reach notes that might not be in his usual range. The strain is to his advantage, as he doesn’t ever really miss a note, as much as inject a more genuine bit of emotion. This isn’t to say that the hooks can seem a tad cheesy or popish. The addition of gang vocals here and there definitely add an unusual element.

Beyond the vocals, the guitars show lots of creativity and exploration, and the lack of a common approach to songwriting and structure is enjoyable. An occasional breakdown is thrown into the mix and works quite well given that they don’t prolong them. That both guitars are utilized differently more often than not is also a good thing. The guitars’ weaker spots may be in the abundance of palm-muted lines. The production does have interesting effect on the sound of the guitars, making them a bit hollow, depending on your listening situation. I listened to this CD a lot on the bus, but in a quieter setting, it is a lot easier to appreciate the guitar parts.

The bass guitar is outstanding for this style of music, with lots of diversity and exploratory bass lines that do not simply follow the guitars. Sonically, the bass guitar is about on par with the other guitars, but competing with two others does mean that it tends to get a bit drowned out. The drums are well placed and do well to drive the songs along.

I hear a lot of hardcore influence in these songs in the intensity and odd breakdown, but overall it also seems that Cru Jones is making an attempt at breaking out of common genre barriers. Many might at first classify this as emo, but the aura of a post-hardcore (more in the sense of [i]after[/i]-hardcore than Fugazi-like) approach dominates with a good rock feel to add to the rest of the mix. Cru Jones is not very catchy and there is not much pop appeal either, but even so, “The Conversation” is a well-delivered batch of easily received rock. Oh, and the artwork is a lot of fun to look at as well.

http://www.quitmyscene.com/reviews/crujones_tc.php - Kyle Navis[quit my scene dot com]


Discography

The Conversation - CD LP
Cru Jones
CD Release Date: 10/5/2004
Original Release Date: 2004
Label: Undecided Records

A Roadside View - CD EP
Cru Jones
CD Release Date: 08/16/2005
Label: Undecided Records

Photos

Bio

Love it or hate it, there is nothing comfortable, or mundane about CRU JONES' debut full length "The Conversation". Picture Elvis Costello fronting the Bad Brains or Morrissey singing with Fugazi. That may (or may not) clue you in to what The Conversation is all about. Painfully passionate and sonically dense, The Conversation is a unique post-hardcore hybrid that should bridge both new and old fans alike.
Cru Jones soars with bipolar stage antics that are playfully flamboyant, yet undeniably powerful. Having shared the stage with such luminaries as Elliot, Hot Rod Circuit, Further Seems Forever, Anberlin and countless other great bands. Cru Jones has proven themselves to be worthy of both all their present and future success.
Musically, Cru Jones style is dark and delicate, but at the same time impressively technical. The guitars can be as remote as the lyrics and then unexpectedly explode into melodic phrases. There is a meticulously crafted dynamic of ambient and airy spaces combined with choruses that are heavy and driving and at times reminiscent of early Coalesce. The amazing thing though, is how infectious the songs are, and how they can be so without being the least bit poppy or generic. The songwriting will immediately draw you in, but it is the vocals that keep you there. Terry’s voice has a quality and a natural tone that soothes, but at the same time overruns with anxiety as one notices the intense emotion fueling it.
It is not uncommon to see a band develop a good buzz and grow quickly, but it is virtually unheard of for this kind of hype to surround a band that has yet to release even a single. If all this commotion is any indication of things to come, then the future will be promising for this group of five guys who come from Florida, Iowa and New York. But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is to make music that is sincere and that connects the band to strangers—and to be able to do so under your own terms. The members of Cru Jones seem to have already mastered the art and learned valuable lessons in the business of music... and they have barely even started.

FOR AN INSIDE LOOK INTO THE BRAND NEW E.P. check out the Miami NewTimes review of "A Roadside View". http://www.miaminewtimes.com/Issues/2005-08-18/music/localheroes4.html