Loved To Death Album, 2005by Matt Golding
The first track of Cracking Amy’s mini album 'Loved to Death' lasts only one minute and fifteen seconds, but by the opening moments of track two you already feel like someone has been banging you over the head with a blunt rock for the last hour. Combining the saccharine distorted sound of modern American punk pop with classic punk’s… erm… tuneless shouting, it is clear what Cracking Amy intend but sadly this is little more than an uninspired imitation. This is not to say that the album is totally without merit – ‘Loved to Death’ and ‘Choke on my World’ have definite melodic inspiration behind them, and throughout the recording the guitar parts display the competence of a musician who has spent many hours practising his licks. The energy of the music and performance is without doubt, but the overall sound is far too uniform and repetitive to be consistently enjoyable. The guitar riffs, even when they are at their best, are far too high in the mix and consist of short phrases repeated constantly throughout the track – often to the point of irritation and beyond. This, combined with the passionless shouting that makes up the vocals and the fact that the drummer only seems to know one riff makes an album that is difficult for anyone but its creators to love. No doubt Cracking Amy are in their element in a live environment, and definitely have the potential to reach ear splitting volumes – when faced with such an onslaught over a PA, it’s probable that even the most sour hearted critic will be hard pushed to resist moshing with abandon. On CD however, the sound lumbers from track to track, the parts unwieldy and inseparable as a pair of super-glued hippos. With more heart and invention Cracking Amy could find the strength in their sound that they lack, but first they need to realise that Punk is supposed to be an attitude, not an excuse.