THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND Although Sweet Crude sounds like something that just rolled off the tongue of a Texas oil man, it’s actually a band from next door in Louisiana. But they’re not just Louisianians, they’re Louisianais – Cajuns in both blood and intent. Dispel any notions of BeauSoleil or anything like that, however, because their gaze is beyond the bayou. This young group is looking to bring their heritage forward into full pop modernity.
They’re not widely known yet but they’ve garnered some acclaim in their native New Orleans, recently winning “Best Rock Band” at the Big Easy Awards given by the city’s alt-weekly Gambit. In their Orlando debut (Aug. 4, Will’s Pub), they came six-strong, pumped and ready to show out with an ample and sundry arsenal of keyboards, bass, fiddle, brass, three percussionists and two forceful lead singers (especially Alexis Marceaux). With those voices, they sang proudly in the French patois of their birthright but set it in the indie-pop shine of today’s landscape. Even though some traditional threads of their indigenous heritage were present – like folk fiddle, freewheeling spirit, the rhythmic roll and pomp of the brass bands and even a traditional Cajun song on the set list – their sound is much more defined by sharp pop luster and fresh-faced exuberance à la Run River North, the Lumineers and other such fashionable contemporaries.
The cultural thrust of Sweet Crude’s expression isn’t devoutly purist, but they’re talented kids with a vibrant pulse that could serve as a sparkling entrée into a rich and beautiful American culture. As a splashy convergence of effervescence, accessibility and angle, they’re one of those bands that sound like their big break is just around the next corner. For fans of immaculate and well-crafted indie pop, this is your next crush. They just dropped their Critters EP this summer, but look for their debut LP later this year.