By the time the Hyenas went back into the studio, Kevin Strickland and Jim Kimball had left to form Mule and had left John and Larissa without a rhythm section. Many people thought this marked the end of the band. Not the case. Todd Swalla (founding member of Necros) stepped in on drums and Kevin Ries on bass. Todd is a much more subtle timekeeper than Jim and Ries had no problem locking in with him, but stayed in the background a little more than Strickland leaving Larissa to take up a little more of the slack. She rises to the occasion, her leads a bit more melodic than before, although still blanketed in a sheet of noise. Brannon’s anguished vocals will still peel the paint of the walls and over the new slightly toned down direction, somehow seem even more extreme.
Crawl is notably the only of the Hyenas records recorded in Detroit at White Room Studios. This album saw one more line up change: Kevin Ries left and one time Necros Ron Sakowski stepped in, the Hyenas went down to Memphis to the legendary Easley Studios to record their final LP with the one and only Doug Easley. On Hard Times, we see the Hyenas influences are more Howlin’ Wolf/Muddy Waters than they are Nick Cave/Iggy Pop. The full-on sonic assault of the first three records has given way to a hard hitting groove that has a graceful Exile-era Stones vibe. Larissa’s simple and one-of-a-kind guitar playing has never been better. Brannon does more crooning than screaming on this one, giving us their most “musical” offering yet. Every bit as emotionally ruthless as their previous releases, the Laughing Hyenas went out on a high note with Hard Times.
Bonus Material: All tracks from the Covers “bootleg” 7”, featuring:“Solid Gold Hell” (Scientists)“I Want You Right Now” (MC5)“Under My Thumb” (Stones)“Serves Me Right To Suffer” (JL Hooker) with Liner notes by Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore, Chrome Cranks) and Allyson Baker (Dirty Ghosts, Teen Crud Combo)Unseen photos and flyer reprints.