It really sucks to say this, but one look at the album cover of Crazy Rhythms and you kinda get how this was an album that didn’t have commercial appeal in 1980. This was a time where being remotely geeky was not really a recipe for success in the USA in a post-punk world. If this came out more recently, then they would have had a much better shot as you get more bands where geekiness is a draw rather than a flaw.
Crazy Rhythms is such an interesting album to come out of 1980. Like I said, we are in a post-punk world where the music is really starting to thump, then you have this album which takes a lot of the melodic cues from post-punk and combines it with something a bit more poppy. This is alternative rock pure and simple. This is the music that R.E.M. would go on to have major success with within a few years of this album’s release. This is a group that actually showed that you could be the boy next door, wear glasses and still rock out… and not in a Buddy Holly kind of way.
The singer, at times, has an almost Ian Curtis sound to him, but to a warmer jangle pop background. There is an optimistic urgency to nearly all their tracks, although I am overly keen on their cover of the Beatles monkey song in the latter half of the album. Compared to the music going on around it, especially in the year before, Crazy Rhythms is so different. This is the sort of album where, if you have listened to enough music from 1979, you get that this was quietly revolutionary – even if it was a revolution that sanded down some of punk’s edges to help form a different genre.