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Everything Crash

Produced by Norm Kerner and X-tal
Recorded at Brilliant Studios, 1991
© 1992 Undulant Rhetoric (BMI) except where noted

J NEO MARVIN: Vocals, guitars, keyboards, melodica, tin whistle, khaen
MICK FREEMAN: Vocals, drums
JIMMY BROUSTIS: Vocals, guitars, lap steel

Carrie Bradley: Violin and toy xylophone
Jonathan Levy: Trumpet
Leslie Sullenger: Vocals (Pacemaker)

1. BLACK RUSSIAN (J Neo Marvin)


3. STOP TORTURE (Crucifix)
© 1982 Kustomized Music (BMI)

4. GENESIS HALL (Richard Thompson)
© 1969 Island Music (BMI)

5. UTAH (Jimmy Broustis)

6. QUÉ LÁSTIMA (J Neo Marvin)


8. CENSUS (J Neo Marvin)

9. HELP WANTED, PART TWO (Mick Freeman)

10. PACEMAKER (Jimmy Broustis)

11. PASSING (J Neo Marvin-Allison Moseley)

12. LONG DARK NIGHT (J Neo Marvin)

CMJ REVIEW: When S.F. rock-crit-cum-musician J Neo name-drops both Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky in the first couplet of the album, we are reassured that this is the same old X-tal, embroidering a pan-folkie instrumental melting pot with lyrical intentions that are sometimes too smart and aware for their own good. Neo’s fearless examinations can lambaste the sort of desperate cries for attention in the name of art and nonconformity which abound in cities like San Francisco (“Easily Impressed,” “Que Lastima”), while edging perilously close to self-pitying superiority himself. Neo, however, seems to realize that writing about the bourgeoisie and El Salvador doesn’t make him a saint among men, and his constant looks over his shoulder, trying to catch himself in the web of hypocrisy as well, are part of what makes this record fascinating. X-tal’s musical melange—dolloping lap steel guitars, melodica, violins and other strummy elements atop the usual righteously electric instruments—finds a harmony and common attitude that it lacked on their first record, making melodious good sense (“Black Russian,” “Passing”) besides showing good intentions. When faced with a band that follows a cover of Crucifix’s “Stop The Torture” with one from Richard Thompson, deciding whether the band’s heartfelt, riled-up ambitions are quixotic or just pretentious is almost beside the point-the sheer chutzpah of Everything Crash keeps X-tal afloat. – Deborah Orr: CMJ New Music Report Issue: 282 – May 01, 1992

AMG EXPERT REVIEW: Rough-edged guitars, electric folk elements, and a cynical vocalist spitting out literate, ironic lyrics that tell stories, air concerns, and come up with surprises in terms of content. It was too musically and lyrically smart-ass to appeal to the mainstream programmers, which is a bummer. The band had an agenda, talent, and brains, and the result is an excellent album that makes the brain dance. Unfortunately, barring an EP in 1993, this was the last hurrah for X-tal. – Steven McDonald, ALL MUSIC GUIDE
[Nice review; unfortunately Mr. McDonald was not quite expert enough to know we actually put out two albums in Germany after the Good Luck EP.]

MICK SAYS: “OK, this is how you do this. (Hey, it’s kinda weird how the krauts love us isn’t it?)”

NEO SAYS: The writer’s block ends and epics come pouring out: “Black Russian”, “Fatal Distractions”, “Census”, “Long Dark Night”, “Passing” (co-written with Allison and based on a jam during soundcheck at the Court Tavern in New Jersey)… We made a decision to let the music breathe a bit. All my songs were either five minute sprawls or one minute bursts. The lyrics wax philosophical. Carrie’s violin is on about half the album. We do two covers: a slowed-down psychedelic folk-rock version of Crucifix’s “Stop Torture”, and a tense rendition of Fairport Convention’s “Genesis Hall” sung by Allison. “Help Wanted” marks the last time Mick contributes a song to the band. 🙁 Jimmy weighs in with two, “Utah”, and “Pacemaker”, a beautiful song with an interesting vocal arrangement that only I seem to like. All in all, it’s a well-crafted album, probably our best, but the closing of Alias’ SF office and subsequent revamping of the label caused it to slip through the cracks, promotion-wise. Luckily, some German journalists discovered it and changed our lives.