Grave Babies - Crusher

It has a way of alternating organically between pop songs and darker stuff without sounding inconsistent.

Label: Hardly Art

Rating: 7

‘Crusher’ begins with a sound I can only describe as a massive ‘krengh’. It’s part heavy metal muscle, part manipulated ambient experimentation, and most importantly, a surprising cold open for what immediately follows: a pop song. This duality, dark and light at the same time, is a recurring theme in the music of Grave Babies, the solo recording project of Danny Wahlfeldt. 

‘Crusher’ has a way of alternating organically between pop songs and darker stuff without sounding inconsistent. Part of this coherence can be credited to the relatively homogenous production. The same piercing snare serves as a pedal point on nearly every track, varying only in its frequency. The subjects Wahlfeldt covers, however, are far from homogeneous  ‘Over and Under Ground’ is a meditation on an ambiguous relationship, ‘Slaughter’ a visceral and immediate gut reaction to the recent prevalence of gun violence in America, and more than one track questions accepted ideas about religion. 

Sure, these subjects are all decidedly serious, and that also helps to cement the collection thematically, but ’Crusher’ achieves a sense of depth in Wahlfeldt’s expertly executed variation. So halfway through when you hear his switch from pop to something darker, rest assured, nothing’s getting parodied here.