The way Change is mixed says everything about Crystal City, and why they deserve to be raised above almost all other artists working in the pop realm. The recordings are sharp and clear, while still being warm and mellow and swathed in realistic reverb. They are offering something, making themselves available, without screaming for your attention. It's like they know they have something special, and are sharing it with the world. They don't feign at pretense, no snake oil to sell. This is the real deal, the genuine article.
I think for a scene that prides itself on its rural, black soil rock and roll, Crystal City is a welcome addition to that oeuvre and they clearly aren't faking their attachment to that sound.
The band's sound is best described as a mash-up of The Replacements, Wilco and Lana Del Ray.
The blend of Dave Helmer and Sam Drella's harmonies together are haunting. Backed by a tightknit sound, creating one of the best bands the 90's never had.
"Change" doesn’t deal with disingenuous topics. It’s about real life and real love. You can hear it on almost every track, and more importantly you can feel it. It is the type of album that can help you come to terms with not only people you’ve loved, but also with yourself.
"Their voices go really well together and the band has great dynamics (fast/slow, loud/soft). Hooks are everywhere. Eleven songs last just 32 minutes, so nobody’s jamming much here, but when Dave rips a guitar solo, he makes it stick. Change is stylistically varied, from the punk attack of The Best Way to the moody dissonance of Tangled Down to the soaring glory of Waiting. Looking for a single? Try Dynamite.
If there’s a theme in Dave’s songs, it might be mild relationship anxiety. He’s an easy going guy tho, and copious amounts of cheap beer seems to cure most ills."
Crystal City from Iowa City, Iowa, is a versatile combo centered around Dave's midwestern sincerity. His honest songs and Sam's lilting harmonies can warm a weary heart and get bedraggled feet stomping.
Crystal City is heavily folk inspired music at its best, with singing and song writing that is dynamic and elegant. It’s quite comforting to listen to.
...Crystal City’s debut album tempers ambitious nu-folk songwriting with their midwestern roots. Love it.
This dynamic duo has delivered an honest, inviting and thoroughly fulfilling batch of songs through stellar performances and appropriately raw production.
In the easy going world of singer/songwriters who rest easy with deep contemplative thoughts echoing through their heads, Crystal City stands out.