Wasn’t sure what to expect when I popped Crystal Grenade’s latest album into my car stereo. It could have been techno, death metal, anything really. So when it ended up being a mixture of pop, rock, singer/songwriter, and cabaret I had no other option but to go with it and see where we ended up.
Crystal Grenade is Carol Hodge, a journeywoman of music, having arrived here after playing roles in bands like Synko, Sadie Hawkins Dance, Electra Glide, Bad Taste Barbies, etc. Her style has evolved through her previous bands to this conglomeration of sounds that are reminiscent of Fiona Apple, The Dresden Dolls, and the witty bitter lyrical edge of Alanis Morrisette.
The music on Lo and Behold ranges from light to dark. Hodge provides vocals that are clean, jazz and blues like influenced (with edge), and lyrics that are straightforward either with honey or vinegar. That’s what I liked most about this album really. The fact that the lyrics are anti-“girl with a piano.” This is so far removed from say, Kelly Clarkson, whose albums seem to fall stagnated on love and bad relationship songs. Hodge simply states in Changed, “You’re not what I want anymore”, continuing on like one of those bad beak ups where the final reason is “It’s not you it’s me”. Basically, Hodge doesn’t write songs about being a victim.
Usually I find myself a little turned off by female singer/songwriters and their piano’s. It always seems like different artists using this formula are always going in the same direction. Hodge really separates herself both with lyrics that don’t fall under the norm and also by allowing her piano to be more theatrical rather then slow, sad, and light to match the depressing recycled themes of love. Hodge’s piano playing can be light, but for the most part it has a dark ominous feel to its style, which kind of shines a light on Hodge’s personality and the way that they manifest in words. It’s says, “You don’t know what you’re going to get”. Well worth checking out.