by Jakob Casement
Darren Johns, the vocalist/guitarist/banjoist of Crazy Arm has recently released his first solo venture, The Nobel Cause EP. Although Johns is based out of Plymouth, UK, he actually started Warshy in 2017 on a West Coast tour of the States. Although Crazy Arm has plenty of roots and Americana thrown in to it’s mix of rock and punk, with Warshy, Darren is able strip these influences “to the bone” while also offering his audience more.
“Operation Chaos” opens Nobel Cause with an anarchistic, semi -violent vocal tone infused with a lamp light like melancholic fiddle ferocity. One of the stand out lyrics in the track, “No war but class war was our rebel yell/ No war but class war I’m saying it still”, is a line that resonates with me from an intellectually empathetic standpoint. CEO’s fund politicians to an unlimited extent due to corrupt campaign finance laws all while Democratic and Republican incumbents then instill policy that favors the rich and leaves the working class populace destitute and hampered by hopelessness. Johns has a grenade like grasp on the plight of the poor that’s cultivated by their lack of economic security with another stand out line from the song being, “We took aim at the rich as we scratched up their cars.”
“Requiem For a Strawfooter” has a lively, capricious yet quaint quality to it. A banjo jolted benevolence one might say. The lyrics mention the lyricists longing for finding a woman to roam the countryside with in sanctimonious solitude. It makes you think of being somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains coupled with only necessities attempting to withstand wilting tree and rabid wildlife.
“North of Misery” has a leeringly loopy, bombastic instrumental tone to it matched by a quantitatively engaging mystical vocal presence. The settle vocals and temperamental instrumentation offer a gleefully experimental juniper juxtaposition. Each chord enriching the already enticingly poetic lyricism heard in the two previous tracks.
The final track, “The Gentle Burn”, has a soft kindred ambiance to it. John’s vocals are combined in a harmonious manner with a delightfully mesmerizing feminine backup vocal. This album in its totality offers a Orwellian rebel yell matched with a hissingly versatile instrumental build up. The Nobel Cause EP makes for a grandiose listen with enough lyrical substance and instrumental fortitude to engage the listener until the very end.