No matter how much anyone tries to fight it, there’s something so appealing about those ever-present straightforward rock bands. Even if you hate yourself for it, you find their songs stuck in your head and yourself singing along when they’re on radio. Their songs are approachable and easy to understand, and no one cares if their lyrics and chord progressions are cliched. The appeal of these bands is what made Hootie and the Blowfish successful, and despite appearances, it is what fuels bands like Matchbox Twenty now.
The Great Crusades, on the surface, follows this formula. Damaged Goods‘ tales of love, sex, and alcohol along side its direct instrumentation make The Great Crusades sound like they were plucked directly out of a college fraternity. They seem like four guys in music just for a good time. While The Great Crusades would be easy to dismiss on account on any of these things, everything they do, they do it entertainingly well.
The superficiality of Damaged Goods is, strangely, its greatest advantage. Rather than leaving things to question, The Great Crusades put everything out there without fear. Told through lead singer and lyricist Brian Krumm’s gravelly, heartfelt voice, they are not trying to hide behind anything. While their obsession with sex is sometimes a bit off-putting (although not offensively so), they come across as being honest. The Great Crusades have an obvious male perspective on things, and while they’re not trying to delve deeply into their situations, they at least sincere about them. When Krumm sings on his tribute to the late Mark Sandman, “Gone”, “It seemed like you were singing to me. And you were better at that than I could ever be,” he seems charmingly genuine.
While The Great Crusades aren’t doing anything new musically, with the basic rock line-up complimented every now and then with some ska-inspired horns, they don’t need to be. The familiarity of their sound makes Damaged Goods easy to enjoy. They seem to understand their limitations and work within their abilities.
Even though The Great Crusades seems the sort of band that is almost too accessible to truly be good, Damaged Goods transcends its own obviousness. There is nothing wrong with liking it. After all, that seems to be The Great Crusades’ only intention — for people to like their music.