The Crash
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The Crash

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"Pony Ride in Melbourne City Search"

As Regurgitator once claimed, with the kind of to-the-point eloquence for which they are renowned: “metal is big in the Baltic states”. Brave decision then for four lads from Finland to embark on a Brit-Pop direction. With their fourth album, The Crash has delivered a stellar collection of lush pop gems, and they apparently weren't even beaten up in the process. The Finns, we are led to believe, are a placid, forgiving people.

Led by Teemu Brunila's dreamy, androgynous vocals (think pensive Bjork meets a meek Billy Corgan), Pony Ride is a joyous, saccharine-fuelled trip from start to finish. Lead single Still Alive sounds like the end result of an A-Ha and Van Halen collaboration from 1985, except with the lame aspects of both those bands filtered and discarded. Grace, on the other hand, is piano-driven journey through thoughtful melancholy, soaring strings and crying guitars. “Hey Grace, I lost you” Brunila sings, and his Scando pronunciation of “lost” as “loshed” only increases the sense of endearment.

The accordions of Lauren propel the tune to locales on the other side of the English Channel (though the lyric “mais je ne sais pas qui tu es derriere ton visage digital” also helps), while the title track, driven by a double-time rhythm, is sheer, bouncy fun, with jangly guitars battling whirs of cheesy synth and Brunila's charming falsetto.

While the term 'breath of fresh air' is criminally overused, it should be applied here for its visceral suggestion. For amid the contrived, bleak and ultimately vacuous pop landscape, The Crash are vital.
-Juan-Pablo Chavez - City Search Melbourne


"Pony Ride review in Rave Magazine"

THE CRASH – Pony Ride
(Rubber Records/EMI)
Finnish fizz pop. Sweet as
With the pop world repainted in day-glo, there are many bright young things with guitars and synths who just as readily adopt swishy ‘70s disco and chirrupy AOR pop as the more surface-cool reference points like psychedelia or new wave. Hence the emergence of The Crash, their album Pony Ride aiming for the same giddy delight that the album’s title would inspire in the imagination of a small child. The first three songs alone showcase the Finnish four-piece’s full-bodied embracing of many frothy musical sources. The opening title track is bouncy Motown-esque pop, the slinky Big Ass Love is all roller discos and mirrorballs and the grandiose candle-lit ballad Grace is string-laden McCartney-via-Scissor Sisters sky-reaching. The album continues on its fluro-headband way, with the Parisian accordion-fuelled disco of Lauren, while Solitudinarian reconfigures ‘70s/early ‘80s blue-eyed MOR in a similarly entertaining fashion as Phoenix at their sweetest. The carefree Reasons To Sing may have the same backbeat as Hall & Oates’ Maneater, but the jangly guitars and sweet pop melody are the aural equivalent of a cartoon sun. Meanwhile, the Australian edition’s bonus track Still Alive ends the album on a sugary but entertaining note with its uplifting ‘80s pop backed by synths shoplifted from Van Halen’s Jump. You may need some fillings afterwards, but until then The Crash’s Pony Ride is one fun-filled sherbert dip of a record.
***½
MATT THROWER - Rave Magazine, Australia


"Pony Ride in Popmatters"

The Crash
Pony Ride
(Suomen Musiikki/EMI Finland)
US release date: Available as import
UK release date: Available as import
by Mike Schiller

There’s nothing quite so effortless or ethereal in radio than a good, anthemic British pop song. See, Britpop has a habit of employing singers with a pure, if thin tenor timbre, Britpop likes major keys, Britpop often employs copious violins. At its best, Britpop floats over this sphere leaving a trail of infectious melodies and good vibes in its wake, even when it’s tackling topics best classified as “deadly serious”. We may, however, be nearing the end of the time when Great Britain monopolizes the genre that bears its name, however, as it would appear other countries are ready to loosen the stranglehold.

Enter Pony Ride, the best “Britpop” album I’ve heard this year, courtesy of Finland’s own The Crash.

Pony Ride has a sense of utter joy about it that is rare in the still-gloomy landscape of modern music, and that sense of joy permeates every inch of the album, regardless of what lead vocalist and guitarist Teemu Brunila might be singing about. Of course, it probably helps that on the title track, which kicks off the album, he’s singing about shagging (no, literally, there’s a lyric here that goes “Do you see a guy like me / And a girl like you / shagging by the fire / On a honeymoon?"), and on the next track, if we are to believe the title, he’s singing about a “Big Ass Love”. Yes, the words “big ass love” actually show up in the song itself, and it really shouldn’t work, but it does, thanks to a complete and total investment in the song by every single member involved.

Of course, there’s another reason this all works as well—the members of The Crash allow their pop music to go beyond the “sensitive guys with floppy hair and guitars” sound that seems to work so well so often, allowing their sound to go into just about every single musical realm that was around in, oh, the early ‘70s. The classic R&B sound of that era peddled by groups like Earth Wind & Fire and the Jackson 5 (I swear the call-and-response hook of “Big Ass Love“‘s chorus was lifted from a Jackson 5 tune) is well-represented, as is the piano-balladic tendency of, say, Elton John (as on the utterly beautiful “Grace") and, perhaps least surprisingly, latter-period Beatles—“Backstage”, in particular, sounds like a less-poetic Paul McCartney singing an ode to winning love via stardom.

All of the genre-hopping is held together by Brunila’s delightfully effeminate vocal stylings. This is a Bee Gee-type of voice, a high voice that, love it or hate it, is impossible to ignore even as the songs change moods and styles on a whim. That voice is what makes a song by The Crash unique, and the band wouldn’t be able to hold the attention of its rapt Scandinavian audience without it.

The Crash’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach does occasionally backfire, however, the most dramatically awful example being the decidedly painful “Filthy Flower”, a three-chord rock (though not ROCK) workout that doesn’t exude any of the charisma most of the other tracks are exploding with, along with lyrics that are just… bad. “Hey, you’re my filthy flower / And I’m your Dirty Harry / I could be your lover / But I wanna be your man,” Brunila sings, and thousands of heads are simultaneously scratched. No, lyrics don’t always have to be profound, but if the music is going to be this derivative and unimaginative, the words had best have something to offer. Not so here. Less egregious but still disappointing is the oddly lifeless closer “These Days”, an attempt to close Pony Ride on a sensitive note that instead works only as an unintentional lullaby.

Still, stumbles borne of ambition can be forgiven. As it turns out, Pony Ride is the fourth album from The Crash, and it’s the kind of album that makes one want to hear the other three—was The Crash always so daring in their genre-hopping? I hope finding out is as thrilling as hearing Pony Ride for the very first time. The Crash deserves an audience outside of Finland; now is as good a time as any to start broadening your horizons.
RATING: 7/10 - Popmatters.com


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The Crash

Pony Ride

“Pony Ride” is a spanking and sparkling new album by The Crash, ready-made for Party Girls and Disco Boys everywhere. But, if you find yourself falling somewhere between these two classic schools of hedonistic enjoyment, worry not friend, just slip into some groovy make-up and slap on a bowtie or ballgown, and you are good to go!

Described by someone, somewhere (we don’t care who) as “the band that happens when The Jackson 5 meets Duran Duran in Wonderland”, The Crash were not born just yesterday, you know. They are three albums old – that’s 21 in dog years. And they spent their teenage formative years wisely, honing, honing, honing, like a bullet-butted, bronzed Adonisette, learning to dance with Olivia Newton-John (did you also used to call her Olivia Nothing-On?) and playing along with Chic, London Suede, and Van Halen, praying daily at the Altar of Ziggy, just for luck. Until one day, like a butterfly from it’s old skin, or Oprah after a diet, The Crash emerged from it’s shiny, neon leotard and, after a hot shower (of course), snugged itself into it’s bestest clothes of all.

And here it all is now. “Pony Ride”. Fully formed. The real deal. Let’s explain some more….

Prince left his fingerprints somewhere on the title track that kicks off the album, while the band were busy “shagging by the fire”. Listen to it. It’ll make you smile. Then comes “Big Ass Love”. A song about a love that is, like, really big. For the full story, check out the cartoon hamsters that act out the tale in the video. They will make you smile too.

“Star (Solitudinarian)” is an old favourite, taken down off the shelf and polished up to shine like a…star. MTV liked this one.

How would we describe “Lauren Caught My Eye”? Hmm, ok, imagine Catherine Deneuve drinking café au lait with Vanessa Paradis in one of those idyllic, old-skool Parisian cafes (oh my god! Imagine that!). On the TV in the corner, Michel Platini is bending another beautiful free kick into a gaping goal, while Marcel Marceau is pretending to be a TV in the other corner. And if The Crash walked in and set up their gear, then “Lauren” would be the song they would play. And everyone in the café would smile and think it was a really cool thing to do.

But, if by now you are starting to think that these boys are just out for a good time, then now’s the time to think again. “Grace” is the place where they wheel out the Baby Grande, and the singer probably sits on a stool on stage to sing this one. You lot get out the lighters to sway, and we all take a deep breath and feel our hearts beating in glorious colours as this simple love song engulfs us as one. Sometimes it can be dangerous for the heart to be in the audience of The Crash.

We could go on, detail by detail of what to expect, but by now you should have got the picture. “Pony Ride”, like its rider, is here purely to make you feel good. To feel. To laugh and cry all at once. Like Disney sometimes does.

“Stay” should be a Eurovision winner. But a damn good one. “Stalker” is the twisted love song that continues, lyrically, where Sting didn’t dare go with “Every Breath You Take”. “Filthy Flower” sounds like it’s drunk. Happy drunk. Clean drunk. On wine and candy, not beer and fags. “Reasons To Sing” gives lots of reasons..To sing. And then we reach “Backstage”, bringing the curtain down in classic style. A song all about a band learning to write songs that they hope will be played on the radio, which will lead to playing concerts in stadiums, which will bring enough fame for them to finally get to meet their hero backstage. Not the most obvious way to go about meeting your idols but, then again, that’s The Crash for you.

So, from now on be shameless. Embrace unguilty pleasures. Enjoy the joy……