Entertainment Weekly (5/3/96, p.77) - "...one of the nicest things about DMB's music is that its distinctive complexity serves as a virtual assurance against a flood of lame imitator bands." - Rating: B+
Q (8/96, p.114) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...equal parts originality and willful complication....Although the band's determinedly jammy methods do lead them away from their songs at times, almost every track of CRASH is at least `good in parts'..."
Dave Matthews Band: David Matthews (vocals, acoustic guitar); Boyd Tinsley (violin, electric violin); Leroi Moore (alto, soprano, tenor & baritone saxophones, flute, whistle); Stefan Lessard (bass, tac piano); Carter Beauford (drums, percussion, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Tim Reynolds (acoustic & electric guitars).
Recorded at Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, New York and Green Street Recording Studios, New York, New York.
"So Much To Say" won a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. CRASH was nominated for a 1997 Grammy for Best Rock Album, and "Too Much" was nominated for Best Rock Song. "Crash Into Me" was nominated for 1998 Grammys for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal and Best Rock Song.
What is it about The Dave Matthews Band that makes them so eclectic yet cohesive, so conventionally unconventional? The answer may lie in Matthews' rangy, distinctive voice and his capable acoustic-guitar work, which keeps the music centered as the band pulls from a myriad of musical styles. In fact, the music often seems to mimic his singing, following him from gruff and gravelly to pleading and sweet.
The players, clearly comfortable with each other, shift effortlessly through funk, rock, jazz and folk, much as on their 1994 breakthrough, UNDER THE TABLE AND DREAMING. Like that one, CRASH is rich and heavy with complex textures and rhythm, and accessible all the same.
CRASH makes good on the promise of the Dave Matthews Band's major-label debut, UNDER THE TABLE & DREAMING, by delivering more of the jazzy, funky folk-tinged rock that made that album a popular breakthrough. On CRASH, the spotlight is again on Matthews's literate, adventurous songwriting, which bears the influences of Afrobeat ("Say Goodbye"), Tropicalia ("Let You Down"), and music from the Balkans ("Two Step"). Matthews blends these diverse styles on a singer/songwriter palette with loose, appealing melodies and intricate, rhythmic guitar lines, making the songs on CRASH even better than those on its predecessor.
Much of the charm of Matthews's music comes from his band, with their unique (for modern rock) instrumentation (including violin and saxophone), meticulous arrangements, and notably superior musicianship. Another of the group's stylistic angles is 1970s funk, and the ensemble channels this influence overtly on the punchy, horn-driven "Too Much," and implicitly elsewhere (even the acoustic numbers seem to pop and snap intensely). With Matthews's associative lyrics and distinctive, sliding tenor over the top, all this adds up to an original and undeniably winning record.