Under Review

Crystal Swells

Harsh Kelly & the Pacific Freaks


Nathan Pike
Crystal Swells - Harsh Kelly and Pacific Freaks

There has been an interesting revival of raunchy garage and surf punk that seems to be getting the kids all riled up. With a psychotic bent, these bands are taking a few hooks from the past and tweaking them up into a thing of beauty. Bloody, raw and certainly not lacking in energy, Maple Ridge’s Crystal Swells are producing an exciting brand of freaky surf psych punk that gets my inner kid bouncing and thrashing all over the place.

Back with a four song EP, Harsh Kelly & the Pacific Freaks, Crystal Swells continue in the vein of rabid tunes that are loud and chaotic like a damned perfect car crash. “Harsh’” is first out of the gate with a catchy little drumbeat intro followed by an explosion of steady, fuzzed-to-the-max guitar and some nearly incomprehensible echo-laden vocals.

“Freaks” sounds like a lost Dead Kennedy‘s jam at a pool party gone to pot, while “PCS” wavers close to a “classic” surf rock sound, but seedier. It is the sheer output that makes this music beautiful to the ears and one can only imagine how it translates live. Fortunately, they make the trek from Fraser Valley’s teat often, so there are plenty of chances to catch this groovy tube of insanity. There may only be four short songs, but it feels like just enough to sate fans until the next batch of lo-fi goodness.