Crystal City‘s transition’s complete. Former acoustic duo Dave Helmer and Sam Drella have added a band and released Change, their second record, following an eponymous EP. Brock Muench adds bass and Blake Oleson (since replaced by Dan Peterson) drums. Dave, a gifted writer, also sings and plays guitar. The lovely and talented Sam sings (she could sometimes be mixed a little louder), whistles and adds the occasional trumpet part. Dan designed the album cover, which, as you can see, is awesome.
Their voices go really well together and the band has great dynamics (fast/slow, loud/soft). Hooks are everywhere. Eleven songs last just 32 minutes, so nobody’s jamming much here, but when Dave rips a guitar solo, he makes it stick. Change is stylistically varied, from the punk attack of The Best Way to the moody dissonance of Tangled Down to the soaring glory of Waiting. Looking for a single? Try Dynamite.
If there’s a theme in Dave’s songs, it might be mild relationship anxiety. He’s an easy going guy tho, and copious amounts of cheap beer seems to cure most ills.
— John Hiett