Three minutes. Someone once said that’s all it takes to know if you’re going to like the person you just met. One might use that test for music as well. If that’s true, then about three minutes into “Pete Ham,” the opening song on crash into june’s debut record from blind to blue, you’ll know the answer. Yes. It’s good. Very good. Listen to those soaring harmonies that just beg you to sing along. Listen to that guitar at its brightest. Listen to the tight rhythms keeping the melodies grounded. And more than anything, listen to those insidious melodies, the hooks that climb into your head and never leave. Just listen to the songs “Wave” or “I Forgot” or “Top of the World” or, well, any of them. You’ll find yourself humming them for the rest of the day. And god forbid you turn off your car’s ignition while one of those songs is playing; you’re really in trouble then.
crash into june began in 1991 when brothers Johnny and Dave Norris did what boys have done ever since Les Paul popularized the electric guitar: they formed a band, in part to combat the boredom of an offseason away from their University of Memphis soccer team. The Norris brothers, like most, have their share of arguments and fights (including one that ended with a frozen ham – don’t ask), but they realized one thing: they shared common interests in music. They loved Memphis’s legendary Big Star. They loved Teenage Fanclub, the Connells, the Candyskins, the Posies, Matthew Sweet, dozens of other melodic rock bands.
So, borrowing the name from a song by underground pop rock legend Scott Miller, they played their first gig as crash into june in a small Memphis pub. Twelve years later, the brothers – Johnny on bass and Dave on vocals and guitar – have been joined by John Boswell on drums and Dylan Cranmer on guitar. In those eleven years, crash into june played gig after gig, building a loyal following in and around the Southeast. Now, the word is spreading. The highly-circulated UK music magazine, MOJO, gave from blind to blue a glowing review in its March 2000 issue (“a highly impressive debut”). Their songs have found their way onto radio stations in England, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal, various internet radio stations, and college and commercial radio here in the United States. And, there are immediate plans for the band to tour throughout the Southeast and Midwest.
The flurry of activity surrounding the band stems from the release of crash into june’s sophomore full-length release, Another Vivid Scene. Produced by Neilson Hubbard (Parasol Records), engineered by Stuart Sikes (The White Stripes, Jets to Brazil, The Promise Ring) and mixed by Clay Jones (Counting Crows, Neilson Hubbard, Buddy Guy), Another Vivid Scene soars higher than crash into june’s debut CD and evokes a far broader, decidedly more mature range of emotions.
From the edgy, sarcastic tirade “Adorable” (“Check your head, it must be clouded/Do you know how bad it sounded/You’re so vain and, oh, so horrible”) to the pensive lament “Read Me Wrong” (“Take me back to yesterday when I didn’t know your name/Those were better days”), Another Vivid Scene positions crash into june as the next band to emerge from a garage in midtown Memphis onto the national scene.
From pulsing rockers like “Breakthrough,” “Fairmountebank” and “My Beautiful Trainwreck” to the Britpop leanings of “Never on Your Side,” Another Vivid Scene, which features guest performances by Hubbard, Garrison Starr, Ross Rice (E Squared Records), John Lightman (ex-Big Star)and Richard Rosebrough (Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos), treats you to 11 radio ready singles fit for fast driving or a night out with friends.
But, it’s not background music it demands to be heard, to be the evening’s soundtrack. So, listen to the songs. Listen to them all. Revel in those melodies. Join in on the harmonies. But don’t say you weren’t warned; you’ll never get them out of your head.