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Crack City Rockers | Joyce Hotel (The Paisley Pop Label)
The Crack City Rockers might well be physically based in Portland, Oregon as their bio testifies, but the band have absorbed their influences so thoroughly that that their actual geographical origins would be very hard to place without prior knowledge.

Contrived or not, 'Joyce Hotel' is a pretty convincing assimilation of the sleazier musical endeavours emanating from New York in the mid to late '70s. Leaning heavily towards Johnny Thunders and Richard Hell for inspiration dosed with a little Lou Reed, vocalist Eric Gregory (perhaps a more rock 'n' roll pseudonym might have been more appropriate?) has the nonchalance, snotty attitude and delivery to make a convincing front man.

No surprise then that musically Crack City Rockers are very close to a hybrid of The Heartbreakers and The Voidoids. Neither quite as full-on rock & roll as the former, nor as deceptively restrained and occasionally intricate as the latter, Crack City Rockers have plenty of appeal despite the similarities. With some tracks integrating brass into the sound, Johnny Thunders' excellent covers set 'Copycats' also springs to mind at times.

Were it not for lines like "...there's a swamp right here in the heart of the city, the digital billboard glows spooky and pretty", from Hey World, that while hinting at the sleazy themes explored on the album also place the album in a contemporary time frame, 'Joyce Hotel' could easily be an undiscovered gem from the halcyon days of CBGBs and Max's, Kansas City.  

Geraint Jones
December 2002