Crayon at Clicky Clicky Music Blog

A dusty blue, early ’90s Toyota Corolla: we can picture it in our head, we can smell it, we can see the cassette tapes it contained. And when we think of riding in the great Pete Torgo’s car during our later college years, we think of Crayon‘s “The Snap-Tight Wars,” a tremendous, hook-laden indie-pop classic we likely listened to often traveling north and south through New England lo those many years ago. In hindsight, the trio’s song presents as a relic of its time: indeed, our (basically) middle-aged self is not as comfortable with the nakedly heartfelt lyric “I wore you as an emblem of, as a badge of my worth” — delivered in bassist and fronter Sean Tollefson’s distinctive, adenoidal vocal — as our romantic and stupid 20-year-old self was, but such sentimentality at the time scanned as powerfully real. Now it seems representative of a sweet naïveté that perhaps hits a little too close to home when we honestly appraise our 20-year-old self. But of course, that is only one part of “The Snap-Tight Wars,” whose cracking drumming, pulsing bass lines and squalling guitar in the chorus reveals a punk heart and renders the song a most-serviceable rocker. The production is lo-fi but clear and electric, and the song was perhaps the first major calling card for the little band from Bellingham, Washington. Or at least it was for us. “The Snap-Tight Wars” appeared on Crayon‘s terrific, sole full-length release Brick Factory, which is being reissued Tuesday by Athens, Georgia’s Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records. HHBTM‘s reissue — which at least roughly coincides, mathletes, with the record’s 20th anniversary — is actually Brick Factory‘s first release on vinyl; the 2014 issue has been pressed to yellow media in a limited edition of 500 pieces, and is also being released as a cassette. Purchase of the LP includes a digital download of 21 bonus tracks — tracks from 7″ singles, comps, 4-track demos and never-before-heard, unreleased songs — and deluxe pre-orders include yellow vinyl, a cassette and button and apparently even more songs. The very fine people of Crashing Through Publicity have secured permission for us to offer a stream of “The Snap-Tight Wars,” which is embedded below, and we highly recommend that if you have not yet gotten with the now sounds of 1994, get with them now and pre-order Brick Factory from HHBTM right here. Crayon did not survive 1994; Mr. Tollefson and drummer Jeff Fell not long after formed the consistently excellent indie-pop juggernaut Tulleycraft, which we wrote about here in these electronic pages as recently as April 2013, when the act released its wonderful sixth LP Lost In Light Rotation.