Beyond The Fleeting Gales is not a perfect debut album from Crying. But it’s a damn fine one which can be heard again and again, which bodes well for the future.
The first full length album from the New York trio following two LPs, it combines their previous chiptune and videogame influences with pop, indie, and most noticeably, 1980s stadium rock. Which sounds like it might have been created by combining most of my favourite things in life – especially as band has referenced the likes of Rush in interviews alongside the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen, the Cocteau Twins and more.
What this means is an album which veers between delicate emotional lyrics from singer Elaiza Santos, powerful drumming by former member Nick Corbo, and now current drummer Kynwyn Sterling, and anthemic guitar shredding by Ryan Galloway. At times it sounds like an obscure piece of indie electronica, and the next moment it’s the soundtrack to a special stage in a 3D Sonic game. Which is a far better thing than you might imagine – so many anthemic early videogame moments could have been made into great songs.
One reason for the change is that the trio ditched the Game Boy approach of the first two EPs to record the guitar, vocals and drums before adding syths and game samples from the likes of Kingdom Hearts, and N64-era Kirby, Zelda and Banjo-Kazooie. Which helps to make the album feel more anthemic than a gimmick. Listen to their earlier work, and the new songs sound much more choesively constructed.
Standouts include album opener Premonitory Dream, featuring vocals and synths before breaking into AOR terrority with a hint of chiptune to lessen the Toto arena vibe. Wool in the Wash follows with a more pop-led sound, before we go into full prog rock keyboard and guitar soloing on Patriot.
It’s not all perfect. Some of the songs do veer a little too far towards the sound of an old Sega Mega CD or Saturn game without quite enough to lift themselves up. But just as you worry, the almost Jacksoneque into of There Was a Door will wake you up before the unashamedly magnificient Revive.
Beyond The Fleeting Gales is an album to listen to as you cruise an American highway in a classic muscle car. Which has electric power, can fly, and probably turns into a mullet-sporting, air-guitar-playing robot when no-one is looking. Which makes it pretty bloody good in my opinion.
Also published on Medium.