Album review: "Crush"
An up-tempo blast of warm, trebly guitar riffs over a barrage of percussion, Abe Vigoda's early music was dubbed "tropical punk." Think more tropical than punk - highly danceable, fast-paced pop tunes with surging rhythms.
But the band's 2009 EP, "Reviver," was the beginning of a sea change, including a cover of Stevie Nicks's "Wild Heart" that sounded as though it were being played by the Cure. The arrangements slowed a bit, the guitars were given ample room to warble and the vocals, previously buried deep in the mix, were brought closer to the fore. Tropical punk became a textured, melodic brand of gloomy indie pop.
Now the transition has been completed with the release of the band's latest album, "Crush." Irresistibly catchy keyboards and synthesizer melodies have been added, recalling '80s gothic pop. And singer Michael Vidal, freed from the dense rhythms of tropical punk, proves a more than capable frontman with his deep voice and knack for elongating words and phrases to create dark, moody hooks.
Opener "Sequins" and lead single "Throwing Shade" are, simply, two excellent pop songs - two standouts in a collection that proves Abe Vigoda has radically changed but can still produce a great album.
- Brandon Weigel, Feb. 2011