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CD Review: The Chrome Cranks 

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Atavistic, 2007

In any hearty record collection, the Chrome Cranks would be wedged between Nick Cave and The Cramps. And rightly so. For out of the festering wasteland of rockabilly, thrash, punk, and blues came the Cranks, slithering out of the muck to take a sledgehammer to central nervous systems and tympanic membranes everywhere. Sure, it’s been done before and band influences are obvious (Stooges, Birthday Party, Pussy Galore), but this one did it with its guts hanging out. Though the band’s been defunct for a decade, Atavistic recently released this high-octane, double-disc set of singles, demos, and rarities—two-plus hours of nerve-wracking arsenal to torch your wig. Waste no time getting down to dementia from disc one, track one: William Weber’s sinister guitar, Jerry Teel’s grunting bass lines, and Bob Bert’s savage drums back Peter Aaron’s (yes, Chronogram’s music editor nowadays) shrieking and moping with the ferocity of a heap of cats in heat. Three promotional videos on enhanced disc two invite your eyeballs into hell as well. Diabolical Boogie may not be the best place to start with the Cranks; this reviewer finds 1995’s Dead Cool (Crypt Records) the most digestible. But if digestion is your objective, this may not be your band anyway. The Cranks lived to gnaw and torture. My only complaint is that this one’s not on vinyl.

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