Review of Crazy Arm's album Born To Ruin
Be wary of the following: the full moon, anything free, 'meat' curries which don't tell you which meat is in them and any band with the word 'crazy' somewhere in their name. Yes, unfortunately Crazy Arm, like many others before them, have been committed to the band name Hall of Shame. The crux of the problem with calling yourselves 'crazy', of course, is much like putting the word 'Experience' in there, unless you actually are crazy (or a memorable experience) then it's only going to make the proceedings sound a bit naff. So are Crazy Arm that crazy?
Not really: Confused, maybe. Lyrically, they seem heavily influenced by the protest punk of Fugazi and Flogging Molly, but in fact Crazy Arm come with a much more polished sheen than the aforementioned. A 'healthy dose of grass-roots radical politics' according to their bio; so of course the injustice of war and the concerns of the common man are visited topics, but somehow the belly fire is missing. Perhaps their live shows are more mercenary but there are times when Born to Ruin just sounds like posturing.
Crazy Arm confess to having many different influences and styles including 'politico-punk', 'acoustic folk' and country rock. Maybe it's the fact that they are an amalgamation of two already established Plymouth based-bands that make them so hotchpotch, because it does seem like they are trying to take on too many different styles without actually finding their own. In truth, Born to Ruin is quite a mixed up record. If it was made with the intention of showing how eclectic Crazy Arm are, then it misses the mark completely. Really it only highlights their disparity.