Album Review – Cmon Cmon – The Crack And The Light
There are so many punk rock/garage rock songs that are perfectly designed for the Spotify generations, and in the council estates sprawled across Britain. What’s nice about these individual groups is their attempts to individualise their sound, particularly in the light of the indie renaissance that has grown with rapid precision across the continent. On a critical level, they do pretty well, notching respectable write-ups, before nabbing a supporting slot – Glastonbury, perhaps? – to re-produce their jaunty, jangly material in front of a sizable audience. Such groups have no place in this article, so we’ll leave them to the readers who have returned from Glastonbury, and are writing up their wish lists for the following year.
Cmon Cmon have pieced together a pounding rock album, positioning a melody-induced flavour to the guitar patterns. The blustery, feverish hooks come fast and plenty on the record and a commitment to authenticity (all eleven tracks are reportedly based on true stories) makes this album a most pleasing work on it’s first listening. Vocalist/guitarist Jorrit Hermans is up for the challenge; the bellowing vocals and choppy hooks are in keeping with the album’s holistic, DIY template. ‘Say What It Means’, all carnage and power chords, is a strong opener, and although the influences are obvious (it screams late 1970s Weller), the song ricochets under the weight of its topic and message.
‘The Summers We Missed’, meanwhile, recalls the one-offs that could have shaped the group if they had arrived at their intended destination (Cmon Cmon emerged from the ashes of a former college band, who abandoned rock and roll for a more stable and sensible career.) ‘My Heroes’ and ‘Way Down’ are equally as contemplative, affirming that the band have championed these feelings carefully, and with great precision. It’s hard to deny the halcyon chirpy guitars or the turbo-charged drumming from the back (Michel Becx could easily fill in for The Foo Fighters if they asked him), but what elevates the album is the heart that emanates between the thunder and the fire. “I don’t write about love or break-ups – there are too many of those songs already,” Hermans explained in an interview. “I’m an observer. I write about real life, whether it’s my own or other people’s. “
The gospel/rock jaunt of ‘New Orleans’ is an interesting contrast to the more anthemic numbers that pad out the record, but the meat of the album belongs to the guitar hooks, which are packed with razor sharp edges, and bolstered by a desire to soak listeners in reverb. The Crack and The Light comes out at the right time, because it demonstrates the next stage of the Post-Pandemic live scenario, emblazoned by truthful energy and a desire to conquer the live settings.
The difference with Cmon Cmon to many of the bands inferred at the beginning of the article is their determination to cast an eye over their work, delivering parts of their soul. They’ve cast off the shackles of memory, and now their second album is free to live in the present.