A guitar-less rocker seems like a complete oxymoron. Half of the definition of rock comes from the heavy presence of electric guitar, but Crash Kings has completely done away with guitar—and on purpose, too.
The Los Angeles band is by no means the pioneer in removing the guitar from the rock equation. Death From Above 1979 took the guitar out of its noise rock at the turn of the century, but the difference between Crash Kings and others is that Crash Kings did it better.
Leaning on heavy whammy bar, a Clavinet full of distortion and lead singer Antonio Beliveau’s old school vocals, Crash Kings manages to throw together classic rock sounding tracks. With the heavy piano/Clavinet structure, the band dances on the thin line between sounding like a rock band and having too many piano ballads that should be playing behind a TV drama on its sophomore effort, “Dark of the Daylight.”
Both “Hot Fire” and “Inside Upside Down” are moody and heavier rock songs. “Hot Fire” puts off the same vibe and energy with Beliveau’s vocals as “You Got Me” off Crash Kings debut album. Without listening closely, you wouldn’t even notice (or care) that the lead guitar was missing.
Looking to balance out the album, slower, more piano based songs, like “All Along” and “Hesitate,” begin to step away from rock. The end of “Hesitate” takes away the heavy bass and pushes the borders of guitar-less rock into piano rock, which is significantly different. It’s not bad, just different.
While not a complete departure from its self-titled debut album, “Dark of the Daylight” takes a more classic twist to its tracks than its predecessor.