ALBUM REVIEW: Crazy Arm – Dark Hands, Thunderbolts

Release Date: January 29th 2021
Label: Xtra Mile Recordings


Only twenty-one studio days (but spread across over four years) later, and Crazy Arm are ready to return with a new record, ‘Dark Hands, Thunderbolts’, after almost calling it quits a few years ago.

The collective is now made up of sixteen people, and it’s hard to believe that more aren’t involved considering how many different genres and instruments the band covers across this set of fourteen songs. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for something country like ‘Brave Stars Here’, or heavier Baroness inspired riffs like ‘Loose Lips’, chances are that there’s a song for whatever you fancy.

Sometimes the variety of genre does bring problems with it though, as there’s not even a hint of a thread that leads from song to song, even despite it having two instrumental interludes, ‘Dearborn’ and ‘Paradiso’. On the bright side of that, you can put ‘Dark Hands, Thunderbolts’ on shuffle or single out songs for a playlist without feeling lost.

The same is applicable for lyrical content, as it is for instrumental genres and influences. The subjects vary from mental health and its treatment on ‘Trail Of Meds’, to anger surrounding the vocalist/guitarist Darren Johns‘ very own Brexit-favoring hometown Plymouth on ‘The Golden Hind’, to simply giving a nod to their many influences, like The Clash, on ‘Howl Of The Heart’.

Clearly, a lot of ground is covered in every aspect on ‘Dark Hands, Thunderbolts’, but mind you that variety doesn’t necessarily mean exciting. The record has its high points, but just as many songs that pass by without much notice, unless given extensive attention. A decent enough return for Crazy Arm, definitely giving their long-time fans what they desire, but, also, just as much space for improvement.