If you’ve been inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame, you’re probably doing something right. If you’ve been inducted twice, then there’s no doubt. You’re definitely doing something right.
There aren’t too many people who can boast that they’ve been twice inducted in that Hall Of Fame, but among that group is David Crosby, famously of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and occasionally Young. Basically, he’s a rock n roll hero, an icon to the point that just the abbreviation of his name on his new record Croz is enough to say it all.
So here’s what he’s doing (and doing right) on Croz: for one, the album is intensely groovy. Nearly every song, regardless of the tempo or drive, is full of a groove that you couldn’t subdue even with tiger tranquilizers. Album opener “What’s Broken” is an example of this. The answer is hopefully no your dancing muscles, because the growling Rhodes keys, funky bass line and twitchy breakbeats at the drum kit are a compelling force for dance. This continues throughout the album. When we think dancing, we might not default to images of 72-year-old rock n roll versions of Gandalf, but this dude can write some serious funky tunes.
The second bit of excellence on this record is its ability to balance classic rock n roll against modern adaptations. Croz sounds simultaneously as if it came out of ’74 and ’14. There’s a healthy dose of the old and the new in each track, as in the bass-driven “Set That Baggage Down” which is full of old-school call-and-response choruses, hair-raising flourishes on a wickedly toned bass guitar, and a heavy modern groove. This new-in-old sound is most strikingly apparent on “Holding On To Nothing” which begins as a acoustic hand-drum jam and evolves into a wailing snythy epic by the end of the 4-minute song. Classic blues licks are juxtaposed with reverse loops of guitar solos. If the devil is in the details on this one, the devil’s dressed in a tux.
And then you get Crosby himself. Not only is he a great lyricist but he’s also a wonderful singer. “Slice of Time” is a heavily groovy track with a lot of empty space that allows him to scamper all over the register in his silky, time-worn voice. Crosby is kind of like a good bottle of wine: he’s old, and oh man is he good! Whereas many rockstars lose their cool in their later years, there’s something about Crosby that preservers his iconic status in rock n roll history.
One of the worst and best characteristic of Croz is the album art. The font looks like it was done in Microsoft Paint. But that only contributes to the fact that this record is a total sleeper. Not only does Crosby have some seriously impressive horn-owl eyebrows, but if you had somehow managed to never hear a piece of music with some bit of his influence, this record could easily win you over. Every song is a little surprise, from the psychedelic “If She Called” to the digital drum-kit folk ballad that is “Dangerous Night.” So all cover art aside, the diversity and attention to detail on this record makes Croz an absolute winner. 4.5/5.