Crude is an exposed nerve. A record stripped of all affect or pretense, leaving only skin and bone. As the legendary Film critic Roger Ebert once said, “It’s not what a movie is about. It’s how it is about it”, so it is for David Keenan’s latest offering.
There’s a voyeurism to the intimacy of both Crude’s sound and storytelling. The record feels like a performance more than a production. The scratching, jangled swinging of ‘Miracles’ stops and starts suddenly behind Keenan’s lyrical musing as lines like “loneliness is part of living” command attention above the D.I.Y. aesthetic. Giving Crude a sense of spontaneity as a whole.
Crude is characterized by movements within a minimal space. Songs like ‘Andy Wilson’ push the dynamism lyrically and sonically, while ‘Back To The Pavement’ has a Dylan-esque scattershot energy that plays well into the organic mood. Contrast this with the introspective performance and repose of ‘Don’t Speak Ill Of The Dead’ and mangled trad of ‘Raving Towards Byzantium’, featuring Junior Brother, and Crude finds Keenan pushing against the boundaries of the album’s own foundations.
However, the lasting impression of Crude is felt in its closing. ‘Untitled’ weaves a spell as Keenan does what he does best, tell a captivating story with voice and lyrical visions. An outward expression, the piece conveys both the bare aesthetic and raw thematic threads that weave Crude together.
And so it goes, the story of Crude is in the telling. David Keenan is a powerful storyteller, whether it be in the stylism of his previous work What Then? or close quarters feel of Crude, Keenan commands the room. Alive with performance and wordplay, Crude returns to the roots of everything that has come before.