by Kris Handel (@khandel84)
Crawling Passed is the second Milked full length from former Geronimo! front man Kelly Johnson with help from former bandmates over the 30 minutes of this release. Johnson stretches out here musically with crunching garage punk to delicate acoustic hazy numbers in equal measure. Bright vocals are front and center and bring a bounciness to the tales of hung-over mornings or other shenanigans and exhibits willingness to do it all again the next day. The pop-craft at hand is something that does not get tiring and Johnson is more than willing to explode musically when the tune calls for it and uses the quiet/loud dynamic to great effect.
“Good Morning” and “Plastered” are great examples of Johnson’s varying approach to songwriting with the former’s bouncing pop guitar and bass work over “pot and pans” style percussion. Johnson’s guitar powers along and occasionally scratches around frantically as he brightly shouts “Good Morning” with a slight sarcastic bite before everything quickly shifts into a crunching dirge. The latter track takes a slower more wistful approach to its tale of shifting moods and the methods of escape people use to escape reality to an extent. “Plastered” celebrates the escape as a much-needed break from daily activities with a bit of resignation thrown in as well.
“Truth in Confusion” is a bit of hazy poppy psychedelia with some truly lovely piano work by Johnson over chiming guitars that belies the ending of a bittersweet relationship. The emotionality both in Johnson’s vocals and musical decisions is heart-wrenching and supremely well done, and although the tone is that of slight resentment there is resolution somewhere around. “Skate Rink Anthem” is an extremely fast paced and exhilarating jolt of revelry with pounding drumwork and slamming power chords. It’s a bit of an explosion that is needed as a break from some of the more emotional heavy moments that have preceded it.
Crawling Passed is a record of musical and emotional shifts that flows freely and opens many pathways for the listener to explore. Johnson is very adept at mixing his brand of pop-punk exuberance and moments of introspection with equal amounts of craft and depth in songwriting. This record tackles a lot of personal responsibility in actions taken in relationships and coping mechanisms possibly needed just to move on to the next day or future opportunities. This record brings Johnson’s alluring songcraft alive and in your face, and there is always a bit of cautious optimism and acceptance of brightness that will be found after working through adversity.