By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
photo by James BunoanScarlet Crush
Hands Of Love (13-Track Full-Length Cd)
How 'bout them Angels? They're 29-17 as of this scrawling, the best record in baseball. And how have they done this? With Arte Moreno's deep pockets? Nay! They're clearly winning because of the good aural karma bestowed upon them by Scarlet Crush, who played the Angels FanFest back in February—even though their set was almost all cover tunes, which blew because their originals easily stand up next to the overplayed classic rawk swill they were perpetrating that weekend.
So finally, after some seven or eight years of band life, here's a full album of Scarlet Crush's own stuff, instead of the occasional self-pressed EP they've churned out—all professional-looking, with a UPC code and everything! This being one of OC's best bands—still!—there's much to like, especially when they're imbibing drunkenly on their core sound of ridiculously catchy power-pop chords and dreamy harmonies—what rock & roll on the AM band used to feel like. And, as lifelong students of radio, the band has wads of potential hits here (not that they'll ever get played on anything short of defunct local stations, though, but it's nice to dream; we really don't want to go on yet another why-does-radio-suck? tangent), from the chunky waka-waka guitar flutters on "That Isn't Love" to the impossibly high vocalizing on "Superstar" and "Walk Away," the last one a pissy break-up song with a touch of stalker obsession, but the music comes off as so giddily upbeat—with handclaps on the chorus!—that you'd never know it. "Summer's Gone" is another not-what-you-think-it-is deal: from that title, you expect a nice, breezy, bubbly, seasonal pop song, but it's actually a big, ugly, screaming argument with a soundtrack. Neat!
Not everything works for us. "Cry Out Baby" and "Secret's Safe With Me" are squishy, gooey, overpolished ballads that don't move us—but hey, they'd be perfect for The O.C.Just about every other cut, though, is incessantly memorable, and we liked getting re-acquainted with their near-hits "Something to Say" and "Tune In, Fade Out," the two tunes that won Scarlet Crush a pair of Best Song trophies from the OC Music Awards. Sounds like they've already got a decent shot at snagging a third.
Scarlet Crush perform at the Orange County Aids Walk at UC Irvine, Chancellor's Rose Garden and Administrative Loop (next to the Barclay theater), Irvine; www.aidswalk.org/oc. Sun., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Free, but you could be cool and donate some money to the AIDS walk while you're there.
OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701-7417. Please let us know if you'd like us to add an MP3 to ocweekly.com/records.