November 24, 2012 by raconteurmagazine
by Nate Bradley
A problem with listening to a debut album these days is that you know that the artist or band will have spent some time wondering if they should try and sound like Oasis or the Arctic Monkeys. Of course, there are always those who think that Megadeth is ‘their sound’. It is, therefore, refreshing to hear the first release of an artist who has clearly thought, ‘bugger it, I’m just going to write some music”.
Crayon Factory, the debut album by London based artist Axel Loughrey, falls into this latter category. I listened to some blues, some quiet folk tracks and some indie/soft rock in between. Even the most cynical listener would be hard pressed to get bored throughout the album, the sudden switches in genre types constantly keeping things fresh.
Axel doesn’t stray from convention too much, with his songs following a verse/chorus pattern, but the album is so infused with energy that at no point does it seem predictable or boring. From the first chord, you can tell that you’re listening to someone who clearly loves what they’re doing and wants you to love it too. The album sounds ’live’, which certainly helps to keep this energy, but is also one of the few problems it has.
Crayon Factory is produced by Owen Morgan (of The Darkness-producing fame) and it may surprise you to hear that the production was the weakest part of the whole album. The songs have the strength and the construction to stand perfectly well on their own, but the overall production feels a little lazy. I’m all for a raw sound to an album, just try and keep it sounding professional as well.
Overall, I would recommend that if you like listening to music (not just metal or pop, but a wider range of genres), you should listen to Crayon Factory. It can keep you entertained throughout it’s entire playtime, switching between musical styles smoothly and enjoyably. Though find out when Axel Loughrey is playing at a venue near you, because once you hear the amount of fun and energy clearly put into the album you will want to see how it works live. I bet it’s bloody good fun.