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Album review: Abe Vigoda's 'Crush'

September 23, 2010 |  7:00 am

Abevigoda On Abe Vigoda’s new album, “Crush,” the tropics that informed its last, “Skeleton,” have been cut down and paved over with shimmering black marble. Rarely does a band so radically reinvent its sound in such a difficult and distant direction on the cusp of a commercial breakthrough (they recently toured with Vampire Weekend). “Crush” is all-consumingly miserable, and a big swath of its fans will absolutely hate it. But it’s also one of the boldest records from L.A.’s indie-noise scene in 2010.

First, a note on those vocals. Singer Michael Vidal went all-in with a self-lacerating tenor that recalls Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, and while the move befits “Crush’s” bleak synth-scapes and gray-skies guitars, he sounds like a totally different (and witheringly bummed) person now. So if you’re prepared to forgive a lot of bleary wailing up front, “Crush” has plenty of pleasures underneath. “Dream of My Love (Chasing After You)” skulks about with ambient feedback groans, and the title track froths with the atmospherics of old-guard shoe-gazers like Ride. The disco thrum of “Repeating Angel” and “Throwing Shade” will encourage after-hours indulgences involving bad sex or self injury (and maybe both).

Whether “Crush” is Abe Vigoda’s vault into the commercial big leagues alongside Health and No Age is yet to be seen, but rarely is there this much energy and possibility in a record that should come with a Wellbutrin chaser.

— August Brown

Abe Vigoda

“Crush”

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Three stars

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