Crayon existed as a whisper, a rumor, a mysterious name on the wind for the past 20 years. It’s been that long since their only full-length, Brick Factory, was originally released on cassette and CD by Massachusetts label Harriet Records. Since then, it’s been heralded by indie icons like Dinosaur, Jr. But for years, actually tracking down a copy of the album proved fruitless (even digitally). My mom’s Mercury ate my Crayon cassette in the late ’90s, and it’s been that long since I had a chance to give this one a spin.
Thankfully, that’s all done – this lo-fi, Pavement-esque flash of noise-pop brilliance has finally been re-issued (on vinyl, no less!) by what’s quickly becoming our favorite label, HHBTM (Athens, GA).
How best to describe Crayon? It’s kinda punk, kinda twee, kinda off-kilter alt-pop. It’s a slice of the 1990s, in every sense possible. And it’s glorious. It’s the songs, dammit. The songs are great. It’s not just hazy textures and fuzzed-out guitars that go nowhere. There are meaningful melodies there (sometimes you gotta listen for them, but that’s just a product of the era). The fucking songs.
Spinning Crayon in 2015 is an instant trip back in time. Back to my high school bedroom. Back to the days when the Walkman ruled the world. Back to cramped teenage bedrooms overflowing with posters, VHS copies of Mallrats and that secret stash buried in your closet. Back to when you’d play your favorite records endlessly as you figured out what your life was going to be…