Never Ending Reviews…

As you should know by now, Tragedy Rocks was released in the UK today, so geddown your local shop and buy em out, eh? Not surprising then that half the world’s press establishment have chosen the past few days to release a mirriad of news and reviews on the band. Here’s the latest; if you’ve got any more news then mail it in or use the message board.
For starters, The Independent had something on the band in their paper on Saturday (15th) though I only found out today. So if you’ve still got a copy lying around, I’d love to have a scan. They’re also in this months Fly magazine too. Again, scans welcome.
And onto the album reviews. Manchester Entertainment Online love it, and think the album cover is quite familiar. I’m gutted I didn’t notice the similarities first. Anyway, hit more to have a read and see what I’m spraffin on about.
Fanzine website God Is In The TV have a nice review of of the album giving it 4 out of 5, and also a review of the band’s Peel Day show at The Enterprise in Camden.
Thanks to Dave on the message board for pointing out this one – Channel 4 teletext site Planet Sound have an album review up to, and give it 6/10 despite not being blown off their feet by the thing. Hit more to read it.
Warner Brother’s latest Rock News mailout again features some Crimea news, this time advertising their album release and UK tour. Hit more to read it and sign up on the top right of their website.
Music promotion company First For Music have a competition up on their site to win one of two singed copies of the album to give away. It looks like you just have to register to enter, though I tried and nothing happened. Figures.
Enough reviews for today. Only thing left to mention is that the support bands for The Crimea’s UK tour have been announce via their official site. The Heights and People In Planes will be sharing the duties; check out the updated gigs page on this site for more gig info.


Davey MacManus from The Crocketts resurfaces with his new John Peel-approved band, so will he have better luck this time out?

There has been a lot in the press recently about John Peel a year after his death, and there’s no doubt that he has left a gulf in the British music industry, particularly when it comes to the unearthing of great new bands. However, here is one new band whose debut album is only just emerging, yet they have felt the warm glow of Peel’s favour when he included their early indie single Baby Boom in his 2003 Festive Fifty, ahead of the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army no less!

So, who are The Crimea? Well, to be honest they aren’t particularly ‘new’, as they are basically a new version of one of the late 90s more interesting British rock groups, The Crocketts. Their debut album We May Be Skinny And Wirey was a great piece of work, combining noisy punk with charming folk in a way that not many bands have done successfully.

Unfortunately, they were dropped by V2 after second album The Great Brain Robbery and had to regroup and reform as The Crimea, making slow progress towards Tragedy Rocks. They may have a different name, but the music is unmistakably Crockett-esque, while the album cover (designed by Tom Petty’s daughter, bizarrely) is clearly meant to be similar to that of Skinny And Wirey.

Singer Davey MacManus is certainly a smooth operator, having blagged his way onto a Travis support slot and then opening for Kings of Leon and subsequently Keane, Billy Corgan, Ash and The Bravery. It’s easy to see why these luminaries would have been impressed enough to give The Crimea a go, as they have some great songs here. Baby Boom probably didn’t sound so lush when John Peel raved about it, but the version on Tragedy Rocks is very impressive indeed.

There is still a very ragged charm about MacManus’s songs, with Lottery Winners On Acid sounding like it was written by someone on acid (perhaps it was), while the lyrics of Girl Just Died are frankly weird and you certainly hope that he’s joking: “Thursday’s a good day to kill your girlfriends, Friday is too.” Bad Vibrations finds him railing against hippies while creating a lovely melodic song that Brian Wilson would be proud of.

It’s always sad when a talented and unique young British band fall by the wayside of the music industry and get trampled on, and that’s certainly what happened to The Crocketts. However, that only makes it all the more sweet when people like Davey MacManus pick themselves back up and try again, and if he can get a few more friends like Fran Healy to look out for The Crimea, maybe it will all turn out well this time. Certainly we hope so, because Tragedy Rocks is a very impressive return to the scene.

Review by James Ellaby from Manchester Entertainment Online.

The Crimea-Tragedy Rocks

The Crimea?s debut proper?Tragedy Rocks? is a short, sharp collection of eleven songs, some re-recorded and some seeing the light of day for the first time. Lovingly produced, this is an album of rare beauty, delicious bittersweet melodies sprinkled with psychedelic pixie dust dance with black humour and heartbreak. At times this is US-influenced lo-fi alt rock, at others its just glorious timeless classic alt pop with a sly twist.

There?s the beguiling carnival ride loop of ?Lottery Winners on Acid?, all dabbing Hammond organs, shimmering guitars, twisting melodies and some twitching tortured lyrics about obsessive love. (?If she gets a disease/ I get a disease? and ?Everything she says I was thinking anyway?) All the while front man Davey MacMansus? voice quivers like a younger, less angst ridden Conor Oberst.

While the centre piece of the album is Peel favourite ?Baby Boom? a quite brilliant hypnotic slacker groove, is slithered all over by Davey?s delightful Eliott Smith-esque vocal in the verses, before the quite majestic strummed chorus that charts the unsparing evocation of male lust. (?You can call me Fred Flintstone/ Tarzan King of the Jungle/ I guess I was a little prehistoric/ pumpkin, at your place this afternoon?)

There?s something so fresh and sparse about the arrangements here: tinkling pianos and sun drenched guitars don?t weigh down the tunes: these ditties are about love, loss and heartbreak. Take for instance ?Girl Just Died?: its joyous sun kissed melody is reminiscent of the work of the Shins, but listening to it is like biting into a chocolate only to find a nut: the black humour in the words often belie the sugar coated sounds. (?If you wanna see my happy side/You better tell me that my girl just died.?) Or the beauty through struggle loop of ?Bad Vibrations.? There are musically darker moments too: ?Opposite Ends? is a angsty distortion drenched stream of consciousness hand fight between good and evil in the rain, while final track ?Someone?s Crying? is a dark piano drenched Nick Cave-esque tale of self doubt, that just about pulls off the trick.

The melodies on ?Tragedy Rocks? are timeless, yet twist and subvert the normal kind of pop that infests the commercial ?charts.? It?s a battle between good and evil, it?s about feeling hope through tragedy, its sweet sounds mixed with the bitter words of experience. This is an economical album full of great tunes that reveal themselves as having messed up inner lives on repeated listens. Tragedy can indeed rock.

Verdict: 4 out of 5.

Review by Bill Cummings for God Is In The TV fanzine.

The Crimea ? Camden Enterprise ? 13/10/2005

Upstairs at the Enterprise is an odd place. Almost Dickensian you could say. Corniced ceilings; grubby, but rich red walls; chunky and faded black woodwork. And when what seems like far too many people cram into a space not much bigger than a wealthy man?s living room, it?s hard not to get caught up with the feeling that this gig may be something special. Once in a lifetime is probably pushing it, but you get the idea.

Today is John Peel day, if you didn?t already know, and this one off acoustic gig from the band who started life as The Crocketts, is in remembrance of the great man. Not that Peel always liked Davey MacManus and Co. ? as the husky voiced frontman admitted, ?John Peel hated our first band; but then we sent him the demo of our new album as The Crimea and he played all 11 tracks?. Many of the crowd tonight (a mostly ?industry? bunch I?ve got to admit), appear to have heard and loved these tracks too. But for me, quite in the spirit of John?s radio shows, it?s all-new.

To begin with, although massively cramped, I can spy the set list attached to a video camera stand. And so I?m fairly sure that the achingly beautiful ?Baby Boom? comes early on. As breathtaking as a star littered clear night sky, the fragile strumming from Davey and deft lead lines from Frank Zappa look-alike guitarist, Andy Norton, cumulates into a touching, bittersweet ? and to put it a little crudely ? tale of trying to get your leg over (?I guess I was a little pre-historic pumpkin, at your place this afternoon/I guess you just weren?t interested, in getting drunk and trying to start a baby boom?). You can forgive the caveman act though surely when it?s put as poetically as that. In fact, Davey?s way with words is at the core of what attracts their loyal following to The Crimea. On ?Howling At The Moon? for example there?s a line that would bring anyone with a pulse up short, (?On a scale of one to ten, let?s just pretend, that life?s a six or seven?). Around this point I lose track of the set list. But it?s not important. The crowd is now transfixed, and whatever the band plays, it?s met with hollers of approval and whoops of delight. People go misty eyed as an old Crocketts tune is introduced. A slow soulful number with gentle washes keyboard chords, the now rammed room (people are perched on window sills and even two deep outside the door) moves with a collective groove and whispers of ?this takes me back to when I was sixteen and this band were my life? are heard.

After a joyous, uplifting and crowd amusing cover of Tiffany?s ?I Think Were Alone Now?, The Crimea finish the gig with, well, another of their glorious, dreamy, psych Pop tracks – while a bubble machine elegantly sends little, translucent balls floating into the crowd. Good times; good times.

Review by Liam McGrady for God Is In The TV fanzine.

THE CRIMEA Tragedy Rocks 6/10
Two years after their Baby Boom single was high in John Peel’s Festive Fifty, the former Ash and Bravery support band finally release a debut album.

Not that the quintent have exactly been crafting a masterpiece. There’s nowt wrong with it barely lasting 30 mins, but Davey McManus rips off Conor Oberst’s tremulous vocals wholesale.

Amiable enough, then, though the only highlights are the Chris Carrabba fire of Girl Just Died and the cute circus jauntiness of Lottery Winners On Acid.

Review by John Earls for Planet Sound, from Channel 4 teletext page 354 on 17/10/05.


The Crimea are one of Britains hottest new bands.

‘Tragedy Rocks’ is a beautifully crafted piece of bittersweet sonic genius that brings to mind song writing greats such as The Flaming Lips, Leonard Cohen and Coldplay.

The band have garnered universal critical praise including legendary DJ John Peel, who claimed their forthcoming single ‘Lottery Winners On Acid’ to be ‘the best song I’ve heard in a long time’

‘Tragedy Rocks’, The Crimea’s stunning debut album is out today.

Click here to buy the album online now.

Check them out on their current UK headlining tour:

22/10/05 The Square Harlow
27/10/05 Soundhaus Northampton
28/10/05 Barfly Cardiff
02/11/05 Portland Cambridge
03/11/05 Roadhouse Manchester
04/11/05 Boardwalk Sheffield
09/11/05 Sugarmill Stoke
10/11/05 Brickyard Carlise
11/11/05 Barfly Glasgow
12/11/05 Cabaret Voltaire Edinburgh
14/11/05 Charlotte Leicester
15/11/05 Barfly London
16/11/05 West End Centre Aldershot

News taken from Warner Brother’s Rock News mailout, 17/10/05.

14.10.2005 THE CRIMEA

The Crimea’s debut album is an absolute joy.

Packed with some of the cleverest and stimulating songs of the year, their UK release comes hot of [sic] the heels of burgeoning success in the US.

Review from First For Music.

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