Four records in and Durango, Colorado rock band The Crags have firmly crafted their sound. Desert Haze finds the quartet laying a solid foundation of indie-psych accentuated with surf-rock undertones, while also bringing dreamy rock and garage punk to the table. A band more than capable of ripping through punk and new wave, there are also moments on Desert Haze where the band bids bon-voyage and heads into the realm of a free-wheeling jam-band. Despite an obvious audible ease to pull that off the switch, The Crags opt to keep things clean and concise while sticking to the song.
Opening cuts “Mother” and “Doing Good” are loaded with grungy guitar fuzz; “Mother” a laid-back tune in defense of the planet where front-woman Tracy Ford sings ‘watching you turn from winter to spring, how you yearn for life to begin, all the gifts you selflessly bring are on display for all to behold; and you ask for nothing’, while “Doing Good” bumps up the tempo. Drummer John Ford picks up vocal duties for “Blown Away,” a tune that finds guitar player Tim Lillyquist utilizing every identifiable and great surf-guitar riff, from the reverb driven fuzz to the punchy notes that splash throughout the solo, while bass player Dan Leek blasts that aforementioned fuzz out of his stand up-bass. The title track is a tripped out walk in the desert in a song, followed by “Awakening” makes for a perfect pairing of dreamy, slow tempo psych-rock, with “Where’s Your Face” closing things out on an edgy-pop note.
The Alternative Root - April 2019 The Crags (from the album Desert Haze available as a self-release)
“Desert Haze” is an album that marks the band coming into their own, a record made by a band confident in a sound they’ve worked at creating and owning, a sound Ford refers to as “psych-a-desert rock.” It’s safe to say that nobody sounds like The Crags, a claim any band putting out original music strives for.
The word “psych” may lead listeners into the world of “psychedelic” music that gets lumped into the jam-band world, but this is far from jam-band meandering. Think more of fuzzed-out and reverb-drenched guitars combined with the desert-noir music of a band like Calexico; they’re a rock ’n’ roll band that can be ambient and dreamy while also being punky and aggressive. With the guitar playing of Lillyquist and Ford’s vocals, they’re a bouncy surf-rock band that can also be dark and daring
The Durango Herald- July 2019 Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager: