In the spirit of honesty I want to first admit that upon undertaking this review I had never even heard of Crash Test for Favourite Things. Iím somewhat ashamed of that, as these Auckland boys (with a few changes in the lineup) have been making sounds around my hometown since 2004. Still, Iím always excited to discover new bands. When your job is to review them, there is an element of anxiety: what if I hate them? That fear deepened when I pushed play on their upcoming 3-track EP and the first few chords immediately reminded me of an old Turtles favourite. However once the first track, The Switch, took off properly I was pleasantly surprised.
Mikey Brown has undeniably strong vocals. His voice is ominous, almost haunting at times, which complements the often eerie guitar and keyboard sounds. The lyrics are deep without being cheesy which is a happy medium that I always admire. Out of the three tracks on the EP, The Powers That Be is a definite highlight. On a personal note, the line ďHow did they fall so far from the dream?Ē hit an uncomfortable nerve. The track even has a Say Anything feel. Seeing as Max Bemis is a hero of mine, that is extremely high praise. Their sound is deliberately slow which only adds to the vibe theyíre trying to access. There are moments of chaos and fastening pace, but they are few and far between. Itís the type of EP that would comfort you when youíre feeling depressed, but will do absolutely nothing to cheer you up; a good soundtrack for wallowing perhaps.
Although the EP is short, it is a strong showcase of what this Auckland four-piece are capable of. The band has been around in some form or another for nearly seven years, but theyíve only been together as they are now since 2009. They are obviously talented and passionate musicians, but I do get the sense that they are yet to find a solid direction. All in all though, I really did enjoy it. They seem like a band which would come alive at a live show (no kidding, right?) and I for one would pay real life money to see them work their magic. The EP is definitely worth a jam or ten though, and Iíd be interested to see the direction in which these guys end up heading.
Words by Kate McCarten
The phrase "the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts" is often used in relation to modern music. Crash Test For Favourite Things are a living breathing embodiment of this concept. Their sound is multi layered and multi textured, yet it's the way that those very layers and textures interact that result in something so remarkably original.
The term "progressive" was almost derisive in times gone by, but it's one that is appropriate and complimentary in this case Ė and all the more so since the progressive approach is used with an enthusiasm and innocence rarely found in modern popular music.
Their sound is as atmospheric and ethereal as Pink Floyd at their psychedelic peak, yet there is a sub strata as uncompromising as Soundgarden or Tool. Lyrically there is a personal and political challenge as relevant today as in 1968 or 1998 Ė yet without the direct value judgements of the former. Crash Test in their live setting are a journey into many spaces. Take the trip.