It's fitting that The Disconnects and Crazy & the Brains share the split EP Are on the Otherside. While both bands borrow heavily and equally from the early eras of rock and punk, their separate takes on the genres show the breadth of three chords.
The Disconnects kick open the gate with a sound that calls back to early New York blues-based punk such as the Testors and the Dictators. Interestingly, their rapid snapping of the vocals also seems to be influenced by Johnny Rotten's snarl. The Disconnects excel at something that most modern bands, for some reason, either fail or don't even attempt: They just plain rock. While the music has a hard punk edge, the tunes bounce off blues licks, driving drums and howling vocals that seem to get whipped forward by the guitar and then snapped back. The band closes out their side with a cut of the classic "Destroyer," originally by DMZ. Both the nihilism and arena shouting chorus are a perfect match for the band. Still, while everything on this record is well done, its been done before, but perhaps not in this tight of a package. While this band out and out rocks, it seems that they just need that one special, unique thing to take them from good to great. If they do, I wouldn't be surprised to see them in the annals of punk fame.
On the flipside, Crazy & the Brains throw out three garage rock stompers. While the Disconnects have a menacing edge, Crazy & the Brains reference the wackiness of early punk. All three tunes are propelled by a basic garage punk set up, and supplemented by a fast and furious xylophone. While the metal plated instrument has a fairly limited range of sound, because this band speeds so fast, and because the xylophone skips up and down the board like a mouse on pcp, there's no time for the music to get redundant. The high pitched vocals are honest and lighthearted, but much like the similar sounding Nobunny, suggest that something is not quite right underneath. Most impressively, while the band whizzes by, they quickly establish the base of their songs, and then gradually get wilder and wilder until the songs fly apart at the end. The band closes with a cover of the Ramones' "Oh I Love Her So," which, because of xylophone, almost takes a tropical flavor. Similar to the Disconnects, the band has established a quince sound unto themselves, which works well for a shorter release, expanding their skills into less expected territory, while retaining their base sound, would make them something singularly notable.
Both The Disconnects and Crazy & the Brains have studied their lessons and mastered what it is to truly be a "rock" band. Now all they have to do is spread their wings a little bit, cut a long player, and they should really be able to go places.