Econoline Crush

There's nothing like the sheer agony of a torturous breakup to get those creative juices flowingÖand Trevor Hurst couldnít be happier.

The leather-lunged Lucifer of Econoline Crush may be begrudgingly single again, but the emotional catharsis of his disintegrated love story has inspired his Vancouver industrial rock band to a creative breakthrough with their second full-length album The Devil You Know, and Hurst realizes it.

"We finally got the whole machine to work," declares a jubilant Hurst, speaking on behalf of fellow Crushmen Robbie Morfitt, Ziggy, Ken Fleming and Robert Wagner.

"We decided just to let go of everything," says Hurst. "Instead of trying to control and manipulate every situation, we remembered what we loved about music and applied that to the recording of this album. I feel the chemistry on The Devil You Know speaks for itself."

Indeed it does.

From the opening strains of the breakneck Surefire - - a riveting masterpiece of toxic adrenaline that will undoubtedly contribute to a boom in speeding violations this summer as it roars out of car stereo speakers - - through the gut-wrenching, dramatic confessional Razorblades and Bandaides, the eleven songs on The Devil You Know sweep you into an intoxicating maelstrom of churning human emotion.

Whether youíre bopping your head to the animated, automated thunder of the first single, Home, grooving to Robert Wagnerís pounding beat pacing Hollowman or enjoying the exotic guitar-and-Mellotron splendor of Deeper, youíll agree The Devil You Know, is a splendid combination of exhilarating, accessible melodics, a liberally tasteful use of electronics and bold, lively rock ní roll beats.

Hurst says it was the bandís intention to capture the tireless energy and spark of an Econoline Crush concert performance on The Devil You Know.

"I remember that when I used to write songs, Iíd get so excited Iíd want to play them immediately for my roommates and friends," recalls the native of Virden, Manitoba.

"But when you become a recording artist, thereís a tendency to try and act like one and forget the reason you made music in the first place."

"We gave our heads a shake. This album is more true to what we are."

Produced and recorded at Sound City in Van Nuys, California; Hipposonics in Vancouver; and Master Control Recording in Burbank by Sylvia Massy (Tool, Glueleg, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Prince in his pre-TAFKAP days), The Devil You Know reflects a period of transition for Hurst, although his petering love life accounts for a great deal of creative freedom and personal discovery.

He sums it up in the title track, Devil You Know.

"I was personally thinking about life changes," says Hurst, whose band has spent time both here and in Europe on the road with KISS, The Tea Party, The Young Gods and Die Krupps.

"And how you prefer to stay with the safe bet, stick with the devil you know. The unknown is a lot more scary."

Much of this inner reflection stands out in such songs as x3, Havenít Gone Away and Burnt; that brooding netherworld between inner loss and peace of mind. Some songs, such as Elegant and Sparkle And Shine, are scalding flashes of pain and anger straight from that inner cauldron of unchecked emotion. Others, such as Home and Deeper - - which producer Massy incidentally describes as "a moody and incredibly lush epic" - - are intensely compassionate requiems that provide quiet reassurances.

No wonder Hurst says he sometimes feels like a high profile luggage handler at the Hotel DíAmour.

"I figured out that with all the baggage I bring into a relationship and the baggage she brings in, you canít fit all this shit in the sedan of life," he chuckles. "The older you get, the harder you hang onto the Samsonites."

Surefire, with its brilliant opening stanza "She goes ballistic on me, Says I donít meet her needs" and contagiously agonizing cries of "No, No, No, No, No!" hammering away at your cranium reflects this observation.

"In the relationship, the woman is screaming at you because her needs arenít being met. No matter what you do, it never seems to be enough."

Frustration also played a key role in the creation of the song about fickleness - - and albumís first single, Home.

"Thatís the comeback song of the album," explains Hurst. "I came up with this ridiculous melody that really didnít seem to fit in, but I liked the vibe. I decided to go outside to clear my head and it was pouring out. As Iím walking down the street, I passed a poor rain-soaked Sheltie. I felt sorry for it, and was considering taking it home and blow-drying it, when the line "You canít always pick the dog you find" popped into my head.

"I rushed home and finished the song. I started thinking about the Samsonite theory again, and figured that this Ď60ís sexual revolution mentality that has us humping around really makes us picky. Itís like an episode of Seinfeld, where if Jerry finds one little thing that bothers him about the girl, sheís history.

Not all the songs are about Hurstís failed romance.

"Sparkle And Shine" comes after a year of road testing," he says. "It was really affected by the death of Blind Melonís Shannon Hoon. Itís about the fact you can have all these people hanging around who can see youíre drifting away, not long for this world, and yet these so-called friends wonít do anything about it. If you think of Marilyn Monroe or Elvis, everybody likes a fuck-up, a woe-is-me martyr.

"Deeper is kind of heavy. I have a friend who is probably going to succumb to AIDS. It drives my crazy that AIDS research is embroiled in a lot of politics. Nobody should die from that disease. Just a reminder that from all of us who are fortunate enough to have our health, our hearts go out to the ones who donít.

Yet we must return to Hurstís lovelorn relationship for the most personal moment on The Devil You Know, Razorblades And Bandaides.

"Itís probably the most honest song Iíve written," says Hurst. "I must have done about ten takes of that song. It was exhausting, but Sylvia kept pushing me. Itís funny, because she has this little tiny voice and she was screaming at me and prodding me to remember why I wrote it in the first place. You can even hear my voice crack. But I really think we took the song to a whole new level."

"I really felt Trevor needed to reach into a previously untapped part of himself for the performance," adds Massy. "All he needed from me was a little encouragement."

"I have to give a lot of credit to Sylvia," says Hurst. "Sylvia kept a real sense of optimism in the studio. She showed real confidence, and kept it a really light, relaxed session," he says of the recording process.

"Plus she was genuinely excited about making music, her greatest attribute."

"I think we all became family," says Massy. "It certainly made it hard to say goodbye at the end of this project. Theyíre all extremely talented musicians and Trevorís a fantastic singer.

"The record is one of my favorites and I would gladly play it for any A&R rep as an example of my best work."

With the remainder of Vancouver-based industrial-flavored band guitarists Rob Morfitt and Ziggy; bassist Ken Fleming (although former Sons Of Freedom player Don Binns provides the album work) and drummer Robert Wagner - - serving as the chariot for Trevor Hurstís demon-exorcising vocal prowess on the The Devil You Know, Econoline Crush has opened up a bold new frontier by coming of age.

The Devil You Know - - one hell of a good album.

Trevor Hurst: vocals
Robbie Morfitt: guitars
Ziggy: guitars
Ken Fleming: bass
Robert Wagner: drums, percussion

Special guest album bassist: Don Binns
Programming: Statik

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