Album Review: Crow Bait – Sliding Through The Halls of Fate

Long Island punk band Crow Bait recently released their debut full length album, Sliding Through the Halls of Fate, on Don Giovanni Records and announced several east coast tour dates with locals Beach Slang, one in Philly on June 14th. Made up of NY-scene vets Chris Arena (Sister Kisser), Mike Bruno (Iron Chic, Wax Phantom), and Sal Fiteni (Sister Kisser), Crow Bait is a cultivation of a modern attitude and an influence from 80’s rock bands like The Replacements.

“The Ocean” opens up the album with a nostalgic tone and forward-thinking mentality that shapes up for a superbly elated track, bursting at the seams with carefree attitude. The song is inflated with love, and the lyrics deal with it ecstatically, “Oh, I’ve seen the oceans! To the west, sunsets in the horizon! Take me to the exit door, I’m already yours!,” before admitting it’ll probably take some work, “Take one leap with a broken wing, this crow is gonna learn to sing, a tune you know.” The album-opener alone is an awesome reflection on their personal lives, and includes a nasty guitar solo and overall beat. More crafty work comes in the form of guitar slides and riffs that lend a folk/country feel that pays off, especially on “83.” The acoustic and gang vocals at the end of the track make it one of the most heartfelt conclusions, and the drums roll us right into the next song with ease. The drum fills keep up throughout the entirety of “If I Could,” with swaying rhythms and more relationship-inspired vocals like, “I can’t seem to see what is that you see in me now? You’ll never even know just what you really mean to me!,” its a standout on the record.

More catchy hooks come on “Searching For My Boots On The Highway,” one of the darker moments on the album that reflects on how the vocalist “got sick in the restroom / lied and said I wouldn’t be late / picked up all my blood and guts / at least its out of the way” and is “sliding through the halls of fate.” Leading into a slow yet piercing guitar solo, the band churns into a build up that feels much more upbeat and ends with pounding drums in unison with heavy chord hits. Crow Bait really gets your attention on the second half, where they go right from using a harmonica on “Gran-Saloon” to their most grungy track, “Deliverance Stalls.” The vocals are buried in the mix and scream hard along with a dissonant overall tone. “A Billion Lives” brings back the upbeat mood and definitely ends on a high note, with tasteful harmonica and accompanying acoustic the band explodes in the chorus, saying “and no matter where the chips may fall or fly / I know these feelings in my heart they cannot die!.” Finally, their cover of The Band‘s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” uses quick guitar during the verses, but slowly explodes during the grand, belting chorus, and also lends a better idea of their influences.

The album has its repetitive moments, “Ancient Eyes” is well-written and turns huge halfway through, but the beginning is simple, ballad-esque, and does not quite feel like it fits. All of the songs have well-written parts and great instrumentals, but eleven out of twelve are longer than three minutes so some cuts drag on during sections.

Sliding Through The Halls of Fate is a solid debut from the new NY based band Crow Bait, their reminiscence to some older punk bands and their southern/folk rock influence should make for an interesting listen for fans of any of those genres. With those multitude of influences, the grit of the vocals, and the force behind the instrumentals, the band’s punk edge is played out in a truly nostalgic and intelligent way on this release. Purchase Sliding Through the Halls of Fate from Don Giovanni Records, stream it on spotify, and make sure to catch them in West Philly this Saturday June 14th.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

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