Americans are notorious for often seeing only what's right in front of them. Sadly, this is particularly true when it comes to music. Where many European and Asian music fans make it a habit to also look to other countries for great music, most U.S. music fans just simply don't see the need to do the same. And to a degree, that's understandable given the rich artistic diversity that already resides within the United States. But it's this very narrow minded strategy that unfortunately shuts out most outstanding bands that don't necessarily call the U.S. its home. One hopes that this won't be the case for Ireland's Cyclefly and its immensely talented sophomore effort Crave (Radioactive).
Fusing together sophisticated lyricism and thunderous, stinging guitar riffs, Cyclefly has as infectious and original a sound as any band today. It's little wonder why the band's 1999 record Generation Sap is still considered one of the best debut albums of the last several years. Crave immediately picks up where Generation Sap left off with a wildly enticing sound that mesmerizes the listener with a wide array of sounds. Vocalist Declan O'Shea's voice is unique enough to be memorable but when it's smoothly combined with the mind-blowing guitars of Nono Presta and Ciaran O'Shea (Declan's brother), the resulting sound is like nothing heard before.
But what impresses most about Crave is its ability to keep the listener off-balance and as a result, always intrigued. The album begins with the rousing, adrenaline pumping “No Stress”, a track that puts Declan O'Shea's passionate vocal on clear display. When Linkin Park's Chester Bennington guest stars on the next flaming track “Karma Killer”, the listener might very well be baited into thinking that this is an album scheduled to break the speed limit at every turn. Not so. These fiery songs are immediately followed with the layered, textured tracks “Selophane Fixtures” and the title track to the album. They provide subtle and sophisticated insight into a band that is simultaneously disillusioned with the music biz and re-focused on its bourgeoning career. It's an interesting dichotomy that demands further listening. The balance of the album follows suit offering the listener many twists and turns without ever losing its continuity and focus.
In the literary world Crave would be considered a “page turner”. In other words, a book – or in this case a music album – that's infectious, engaging and simply cannot be put down. Crave has enough texture, power and hunger to leave listeners wanting more. One can only hope that the American audience will take notice of this outstanding Irish import. Cyclefly is certainly a band that deserves all the attention that it gets.