Bouncy guitars and an effervescent bassline that mercilessly chases after an evasive groove are only a third of what folk fans can expect out of “Straight Crazy,” the all-new single from none other than the D.C.-stationed Muddy Crows. A smoking percussive swing frames the Crows’ throttling harmonies, which ascend skyward towards the heavens around every twist and turn leading up to the chorus. Frontman Dan Wolff is on fire in this song, giving up some of his most divine verses to date and demonstrating a knack for capturing agile rhythm with the cadence of his vivid prose. Don’t let the title of this song fool you – “Straight Crazy” is a smart pick for any serious music enthusiast this March.
There’s a feverish urgency in the tempo of this single that we can’t escape from, even in moments where the band slows down a bit to bask in the radiant melodicism of the lyrics. Despite the swift pace of the instruments, no part of their execution feels rushed or pieced together in an attempt to salvage a fragmented power jam. Everything’s got a specified place in this master mix, and the cutting-edge production doesn’t allow for anything to ever become muddied in the grander scheme of things.
“Straight Crazy” admittedly has one of them more polished EQ’s I’ve listened to among the output of active roots rock bands lately, but there’s still an ample supply of rich tonality that lends to the authenticity of the song. The very notion that this track was technologically augmented is quickly dismissed as soon as those colorful guitar strings enter the picture and we become hypnotized by their striking earthiness. In an era that has been dominated by Pro Tools and halfhearted attempts at evocative acoustic music, it’s nice to hear a band that still takes the DIY ethos seriously.
Surreal swagger is plentiful in “Straight Crazy,” and it matches up really well with the contemporary roots revival movement without blending the band’s sound into the crowd too much. With the erudite lyricism that this track sports, I don’t think it would ever be possible to get it confused with the fodder that typically sees consistent FM airplay nowadays; there’s simply too much emotion, too much unfiltered intimacy for me to conceive anything different. You can tell that Dan Wolff is as dedicated a poet as he is a songwriter here, and if you ask me, that’s precisely why his band’s old school style of folk is lighting up the underground as much as it is recently.
If you haven’t heard the music of The Muddy Crows yet, I highly recommend giving “Straight Crazy” a listen this month. It’s got the solid bones to get you addicted to the band’s roaring tonality and self-aware lyrical content, and if my gut is right, I doubt it will be the last hit single we hear from them before 2020. They’ve got so much momentum behind their moniker at the moment that a song like this is bound to create some big waves inside their scene and abroad, and regardless of anything else, they’ve definitely made a fan out of me.