The Staff : Crystal Crux, the new rage at the crossroads
Staff has arisen at a crucial moment : the technical feats of the hardcore fusion scene have lost their appeal. After setting off a tidal wave, this innovative style of 1995 has little left to offer but feeble spinoffs. New tracks only recall Rage Against The Machine or Biohazard, if not the pioneers, the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Living Colour : sizzling drumbeats and heavy chords. Staff takes over as the old scene disappears. With one last salute at the old cult groups, they separate the wheat from the chaff and with a solid spirit of invention, get ready to take off. What results is Crystal Crux, a four-track CD that injects new vigor into rock's old veins.
Team spirit, of course ; but in the bedlam of the studio, musicians' attention cannot remain focused on their companions' playing without eventually creating the monotonous noise into which too many fusion groups have fallen. Staff sets the clock back to zero. No power without composition. No spontaneity without effort. No lyricism without songwriting. And it works. Admirably.
Crystal Crux plays with contrasts, but with finesse. The vocals slide over dry rhythms, and discreetly set the scene : it is Sap, the opening track of the CD, in which a tight race is run between skinned-alive poetry with a touch of despair and formidable rage. To unite the two, well-applied guitars that lay down a refrain reminiscent of skate-core. Because within Staff's songs a juvenile ecstasy remains, rising powerfully in latent ambiences. Take for example Dark City : here, guitarist G. throws in little acoustic touches in order to accompany melodic vocals. And then, lift off. At first, you're left in the dust. And then the song unveils its true nature, and suddenly, it all becomes clear. Aggressive and dissonant verses answer to undercurrents ; tender, lyrical murmurs send shivers up your spine ; sharp hardcore passages recall Helmet.
Not to forget that Staff offers a techno version of Love (hidden track) that brings out the subtlety of the song and underlines another facet of the Valais-natives' talent.
Staff : the art of infusing every last detail with style. It's the art of lending richness to a too often wasted style, which both permits and deserves it. It's the right way to play fusion. In four tracks, Staff sets back into a motion a wave that nearly gave in to its own inertia. Crystal Crux, at the crossroads, a rage that sets a spark to the fuse. (06/99)
The Staff Story
In 1995, after the spring snow melt, a group of friends put away their snowboards for a season and founded Staff. Ever since then, the amps have stayed plugged in
That same year, the band recorded their first few songs on a demo tape that circulated around the club network and made a name for them. Not much later, they were selected by the Marlboro New Talents contest and appeared on a compilation CD with a track recorded by Bertrand Siffert, the live sound engineer for the Young Gods. Wasting no time, the groupe then left for Belgium and recorded their first album, distributed by Disctrade.
In 1995, their first echoes of success were heard, and not the least : for their first Swiss tour, Staff hit the road to open for Uncle Meat from the Watt's'on Records label.
In 1997, Staff was chosen from among 50 groups to participate in the 24 Hours of Rock concert in Geneva, and even before summer performed at festivals and a live concert on Couleur 3 radio that opened the door to such gigs as the Tessin Summer Festival, the Irish Fest and the Ice Metal Fest.
With redoubled energy, the group attacked new compositions without giving up the live stage, since they opened for the Toy Dolls and Dog Eat Dog at the Dahue Rock Festival. Out of the masses, Staff was chosen from among 250 contestants for a live appearance in the national music show Studio One. The Year ended as it had begun, in glory : Staff opened for Helmet at the Z7 in Pratteln and did an unplugged show on Couleur 3 for the radio show Cobalt.
1998 was a sabbatical year : the band spent their time composing. They abandoned the big stage but put on concerts in clubs that allowed them to evaluate their work. As soon as the new songs were polished, they got in gear
1999 is the year of Crystal Crux.
Line up :
Vito : vocals G : guitars and backings Djanda : bass BBs : drums
Crystal Crux is distributed by Disctrade (CH) Via Watt's'on Records (B)