The Crowd Letter Bomb

One of pop punk’s most underrated bands, Huntington Beach, CA’s the Crowd were blasting out saccharine pieces of four-chord glory back when NOFX and the Vandals were learning how to tune. Since the late ’70s, they have helped to construct the SoCal scene, never showing signs of slowing down despite watching their contemporaries endure far more lucrative careers. With even a cursory listen to this re-release of 1996 effort Letter Bomb, we find the band at their strongest. Simplistic and straightforward, the songs here are still strongly influenced by the brashness and street sensibility of the late ’70s British punk rock that initially influenced them. Sneering attitude and sonic looseness pervade everything from opening tune "Run For The Money” to bonus tracks "Life’s A Pill,” "Booze Blues” and "Love You More,” culled from the band’s vinyl-only EP Dig Yourself. When put into the proper context — this is retrospective listening — Letter Bomb is an unheralded album from a band that clearly deserve more credit for their craft than history has extolled upon them. (TKO)