"The new Boulder punk band Anne Frank on Crank has an impressive calling card,
a demo tape with such originals as "Defiance" and "The Ballad of Martin Acres,"
as well as a Sleater-Kinney cover. Lots of manic energy, screaming, and precious
little in the way of subtlety mark Anne Frank on Crank, and these debut shows with
Boulder's Splitter could be the start of something enjoyable. The band's motto is
nothing if not honest: 'If we didn't suck, we wouldn't play!'" - the Onion
. . . Seeing [the opening act] didn't fill me with a lot of hope for a "serious" band when Anne Frank on Crank took the stage. With a name like "Anne Frank on Crank" one might be excused for thinking the name to be little more than a gimmick to get you to like a band that has little more to recommend it than being clever one time. However, sometimes it's good to be so wrong. AFoC is a four piece consisting of Abbie Sonic on guitar and lead vocals (for most songs), Billy on lead guitar, backing vocals and lead vocals (for some songs), Adam as their bassist and backup vocalist and Brian on drums. They don't look like punk rockers. Much in the same way that the Pixies or Sonic Youth don't look like punkers. But that is very much to their advantage.
Their music is high energy, for lack of a better term, alterna-punk. They're from the same school of punk as the more inventive punk bands like Sleater-Kinney, the aforementioned Pixies and Babes in Toyland. Some of their songs sounded like they might have been a little rockabilly but with a blistering delivery that overwhelms your expectations. An easy comparison to X could be made but AFoC is a lot heavier and sped up (thus the name). Looking at her, you wouldn't expect Abbie Sonic to be able to scream out intelligent and intense lyrics but she's also able to warble with a powerful emotionality like Corin Tucker's less famous sister. Billy I'd met at some Catatonic Lydia gigs and knew he played drums for them occasionally, but it turns out he's a maniac on the guitar and able to churn out guitar solos that soar and roar without having to bore. Toward the end of their set they did an unexpected cover of Sleater-Kinney's "The Day I Went Away" from S-K's under-appreciated first album. Though that was likely lost on most of the audience--even among the people who are into Sleater-Kinney. They closed their set with the bluesy and supercharged "1 2 3 4."
Stunningly accomplished, powerfully evocative and impressively energetic. This band doesn't waste a second of your time in any of their songs and we just don't see that often enough. At this time, Abbie Sonic is splitting her time between New York City and Denver so Anne Frank on Crank doesn't play very often so you should see them whenever you can because you will wonder where the city's been keeping this amazing punk band. Their self-titled debut CD is out and it almost captures the power of their live shows so it comes highly recommended as well.