Crash Karma

October 3, 8:00 PM, Pure Ultra Lounge

What goes around comes around. Es­pe­cially for Crash Karma.

When they roared to life with their su­per-pow­ered debut album in 2010, the mem­bers of this Can-Rock dream team — singer Edwin (for­merly of I Mother Earth), gui­tarist Mike Turner (ex- Our Lady Peace), drum­mer Jeff Bur­rows (The Tea Party) and bassist Amir Ep­stein (Zy­gote) — were mu­si­cal peers with sep­a­rate but equal pasts. Al­most three years later to the day, with their fit­tingly ti­tled sopho­more album Rock Musique Deluxe, they have grown into a band of broth­ers with a shared mu­si­cal vi­sion they’re will­ing to fight for. Even among them­selves.

“When we first got to­gether, I didn’t know the guys,” says bassist and main song­writer Ep­stein, who set up the mu­si­cal blind date that launched the band in 2008. “I wasn’t friends with them and they weren’t friends with each other — which I ac­tu­ally thought was kind of strange, being that they were in three of the most suc­cess­ful bands ever in Canada. They had crossed paths when they toured, but they weren’t su­per-tight. So we weren’t very com­fort­able in the stu­dio. Every­body was on their best be­hav­iour. If some­one made a sug­ges­tion some­one else didn’t like, there wasn’t much crit­i­cism. No­body wanted to of­fend. “Since then, we’ve played to­gether, we’ve recorded to­gether, we’ve toured to­gether. And we’ve be­come close, a bunch of bud­dies. We know every­thing about each other now — all the dark se­crets. So it was a lot dif­fer­ent in the stu­dio. We were com­fort­able with one an­other, we were hon­est with one an­other, we were open with one an­other. And it was way more opin­ion­ated — ‘That sucks! Do it again!’ In­stead of every­body doing what they want, we did what was best. And we all ended up mak­ing a stronger album be­cause of it.”

That cock­tail of ca­ma­raderie, con­fi­dence and cre­ative con­flict is the spark that ig­nites the high- oc­tane Rock Musique Deluxe. Co-pro­duced by the band and stu­dio vet­eran Terry Brown (Rush, Max Web­ster, Voivod) in their Toronto home­town, the lean, mus­cu­lar album takes up where pre­vi­ous hits like ‘Awake’ and ‘Fight’ left off and heads into new sonic ter­rain.

“You can tell that there’s a ma­tu­rity in the band,” Edwin agrees. “It’s a step ahead, not a step back. It’s not re­mak­ing the same record. It’s a nat­ural evo­lu­tion. You could put it up against the first record, but it doesn’t sound like the first record. It sounds like a newer, fresher Crash Karma.” Also a more ag­gres­sive and pro­gres­sive one. The just over 40-min­utes Rock Musique Deluxe runs darker, deeper and heav­ier than its pre­de­ces­sor, thanks to Turner’s wall of ser­rated buz­z­saw riffage and swirling flour­ishes, Ep­stein’s nim­ble, melodic basslines and drum­mer Bur­rows’ mar­riage of oc­to­pus dex­ter­ity and re­lent­less propul­sion. “We un­leashed Bur­rows,”

Ep­stein con­firms. “If you lis­ten to the drums, they’re ridicu­lous, an­i­mal­is­tic. We kept en­cour­ag­ing him to give us more.” Once the drums were tracked, the mu­si­cians were com­pelled to fol­low suit, in­cor­po­rat­ing dif­fer­ent time sig­na­tures, ex­otic per­cus­sion, un­pre­dictable arrange­ments and at­mos­pheric tex­tures — the div­i­dends paid by their new­found open­ness and drive.
“I al­ways have to step back and take an audio pic­ture of what we ac­com­plish as a band,” Bur­rows says. “The sonic boom of four in­di­vid­u­als from var­ied mu­si­cal back­grounds cre­at­ing some­thing so pow­er­ful and to the point is amaz­ing.”

Be­neath the album’s brains and brawn, how­ever, beats a sin­cere, pas­sion­ate heart. In con­trast to the more ex­ter­nal per­spec­tive of their debut, this time it’s per­sonal for lyri­cists Ep­stein and Edwin. The bulk of these 11 songs in­tro­duce pro­tag­o­nists stand­ing at life’s cross­roads and run­ning emo­tional gauntlets. Meet the be­lea­guered star of the funk-flecked mod­ern rocker “Man on Trial”. The self-re­crim­i­nat­ing anti-hero of the soar­ing slow-burner “Every­thing”. The em­pow­er­ing lead of the in­fec­tious first sin­gle “To­mor­row”. The pro­tec­tive cham­pion of the omi­nous abuse-themed ‘Leave Her Alone’. All of them (and more) are per­son­i­fied via Edwin’s painstak­ingly crafted vo­cals, which move seam­lessly from tough to ten­der in a sin­gle cou­plet.

“The way I see it,” ex­plains Edwin, “the first record had a lot of angst and a lit­tle bit of love. This record has a lot of love and a lit­tle bit of angst. And from my per­spec­tive, the songs are more singable. We put a lot of back­ing har­monies on this one. On the first record, we tried not to use too many har­monies so it didn’t sound sweet and pretty. But this time, the songs re­ally lent them­selves to a di­ver­sity of har­monies. But ul­ti­mately, it’s not like we’re play­ing be-bop or any­thing. It’s still a rock album.” And at a time when real rock is in short sup­ply, Crash Karma are proud to wear the genre on their sleeve. And their album cover.

“We’ve played shows with some bands — and I’m not going to name them — that weren’t rock bands, but were just pre­tend­ing to be rock bands,” ex­plains Ep­stein. “It was re­ally ir­ri­tat­ing to see that. So our album title is just a way of just say­ing, ‘This is rock music. Take a lis­ten to it, in case you for­got what it’s sup­posed to sound like.’” Adds Edwin: “I know there’s still a lot of rock fans out there. I don’t think rock is dead. I think it will al­ways make a re­vival in some form. And if we can have a part in that re­vival, in mak­ing it front and cen­tre a lit­tle bit, I would be greatly ho­n­oured.”

Don’t be sur­prised if he gets his wish. After all, what goes around …


Release date: 06-Aug-2013 Rock Musique Deluxe Learn more


Release date: 16-Mar-2010 Crash Karma Learn more

Subscribe now!

2044 Dewdney Avenue
S4R 1H1

Local Number: 306-596-3633