Los Angeles band CRMNL HYGNE may not be alone in the punk revival movement coming out of this city, but they have a keen sense of something genuine behind the dated aesthetic, and effectively capture a dual nature caught between apathy and anarchy.
Drowned vocals and soaked guitar lines weave in and out of each other as seamless equals, and they are aware of when to let instrumentation convey the necessary feeling when mere language hits its wall. There’s a 70s-era skepticism, the kind that comes off the heels of crashing optimism, filtered through a floating, post-millennial daydream.
Filled with the sort of tunes that render hours of the day useless, and instead extend a soundscape of abstractly passing time, the CRMNL HYGNE EP is at once thriving off and disillusioned by youth, though isn’t a bleak record by any means. There’s a prettiness buried within the grunge, and as much as I suspect this word would repulse them, it’s a quality that’s very much there.
It’s hard not to hear drops of Kurt Cobain’s influence over this record, of Nirvana’s moody, burnt rock that could have spawned entirely from a day of listening to the passive, latent sexuality of “Rape Me.” Ambient noise and sparks of laughter punctuate a debut that doesn’t seem to come from a place without hope, but whose malaise reflects the feelings of being stuck between places, and between choices.