The Great Crusades - Welcome to the Hiawatha Inn
With lyrics reminiscent of Waits, a vocal style similar to Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson in his calm moments and a heteroclite instrumentation which relies heavily on distorted guitars but also banjos, violins and organs, The Great Crusades latest opus, Welcome to The Hiawatha Inn is an unusual effort to describe. Imagine Gin Blossoms crossed with Gary Moore's bluesy-rock and you'll get a vague idea of their sound.
The regret-drenched I'll be Over Here proves they don't have to play at level 11 all the time and by and large, their more relaxed tracks showcase their songwriting better than the rockier numbers. Soul elements emerge in some tracks and grittier folksey-country influences rear their mutual heads in the likes of Hiawatha Inn or November. There's a voluntary effort to not overproduce here and you're left hearing a raw live-feeling band performing in a smokey venue blasting every note as if their life depended on it. Globally, it's a rather good effort despite the chaos of influences threatening their individuality and remains a real grower of an album.
Check out their site for some free mp3s of their music and make your own mind up...