Decades from now, people will look back and appreciate just how awesome the early 90’s was for music. It was the birth of so many genres, mainly grunge. However other than the birth of several sub-genres, it stood as a testament to the rock and roll dream. All of a sudden the guys we knew in high school who jammed in the garage were the new rock gods. Of course the majority were still stuck in the garage, but that was fine, they could make it! It could happen! There seemed to be probability of success to any project worth a damn.
Unfortunately, when Crayon originally released their only full length album,Brick Factory I wasn’t nearly cool enough to know about this underground cult classic. Partly due to my influences, partly due to the fact that I was all of 12 years old when it first came out, I am sad to say that hearing the new re-issue from Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records is in fact my first exposure to the band.
With that said, it’s clear to see why Brick Factory has been a long-awaited re-issue. Fronted by Brad Roberts, the album is more punk than his later project, Tullycraft, but there is plenty twee elements at work. One of the favorites from the LP, “Chutes & Ladders” proves that twee pop was alive and well in the early part of the decade, only to be robed and destroyed ten years later.
In fact the album as a whole walks the line between twee and punk very well. The reason why is the choruses are catchy enough to keep it pop, but the heavily distorted guitars and breakdowns like that in “Small” show plenty of punk elements at work. The tradeoff of vocals between Roberts and Sean Tollefson exemplifies the worlds colliding.
It’s no wonder this album has received such cult status, and while it’s unfortunate that it has been so difficult to find in its years out of print, this re-issue gives much needed credit to the influential project.
Our friends at HHBTM Records always release excellent vinyl editions. Pressed on heavyweight black vinyl, the album includes the original album artwork, inserts, and a forward written by longtime fan Courtney Klossner. The vinyl mastering sounds excellent, especially on the low end. You can pick up a copy from your local independent record store or directly from HHBTM Records.