Recording of the album began in October 1995, and ended in January 1996. There were only four known songs from the Crash sessions that "didn't make it to the final cut," however, none of the titles are known.
Q said of the album, "equal parts originality and willful complication", and stated, "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'".Jim DeRogatis of Rolling Stone found "Matthews' vocals [...] too much like Sting's at times" and "the lyrics [...] typically banal". Comparing the band to their musical contemporaries (like Hootie and the Blowfish), DeRogatis stated, "Snappier violin-driven excursions such as "Tripping Billies" mix the progressive rock of U.K. or Eddie Jobson-era Roxy Music with the earthy folk rock of Fairport Convention. This eclecticism gives Matthews a slight edge over his peers, but that's sort of like saying you prefer vanilla ice cream to vanilla frozen yogurt. Me, I dig Cherry Garcia."