THE CRAZY IVANS

Dive! (Self-released)

While The Crazy Ivans seem to have the pieces in place to be an entertaining live rock band—aggressive raw guitar riffs, a capable vocalist, etc.—the challenges presented in a recording studio can be a whole other ugly animal. The problem here? This band has trouble writing good songs.

It's easy to think your originals rock when you play them live. All that energy and volume (and alcohol) can often glaze over real songwriting shortcomings that the recording can really bring out. "My Favorite Song," with its lyrics "In the morning when I wake/I put on my favorite tapes/Splashin' cold water on my face," seems forced and shallow, and doesn't seem to dig deep enough to be even remotely compelling.

Not all hope is lost here, though. There are bright moments of frenetic, '70s punk guitar and some emotive, early-Berlin vocals, like on "Frequency," the LP's strongest point without question.

But these are just fleeting moments. And, as often is the case, Dive! will likely serve more as a learning experience for The Crazy Ivans than anything. Alan Ayo

 
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