Album | Alternative Rock | 46 Mins.
“Crash of Cassini” is the debut album of the Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Magnuson. The group is comprised of Greg and Kyrsten Magnuson, who both contribute their vocal talents throughout the album and trade off the roles of guitarist and drummer in nearly every track. While for some acts this versatility could detract from the album’s sonic cohesiveness, Magnuson manages to pull it off fairly well.
The band’s tagline is “the most musical mayhem ever created by a boy and a girl,” which is pretty apt. While their sound has its charms, much of what could be great about this album is lost in a mud of brash cymbals and overdriven guitar lines. If they toned down the mayhem slightly, there would be a lot more to like.
Magnuson’s greatest strength is their use of unusual and clever chord progressions. This is most evident in “Somewhere,” which features an unexpectedly catchy chorus that thrives on the wonderful harmonization of Greg and Kyrsten’s voices. Fortunately, Kyrsten takes the lion’s share of the vocals in “Somewhere.” Suitably high and crisp, her voice has the power to back this song up. In contrast, Greg sometimes comes off sounding a bit whiny or painfully out of key.
Despite its shortcomings, “Crash of Cassini” does have a few gems. One particularly strong entry, “Real Control,” is a traditional hard rock, bordering on metal, track where Greg’s gritty vocals are actually complemented by the rough feel of the track. Another, “Fear and Deception,” features a cleaner drum sound with a more intricate guitar riff that hints at a greater potential for Magnuson.
While “Clash of Cassini” is far from a perfect debut, it contains enough new ideas, backed up by solid musicianship, that fans of the alt-rock should consider picking it up when the album lands next month.