The Crimea Take Off

Good lord, it’s like, hailing Crimea news right now. Hopefully you were here sometime between mid-day yesterday and today and caught the streams of some choice cuts of Crimea audio on the site, including some US only stuff and Davey’s extra-ordinary guitar skills. A good time to say a huge thanks to all those who’ve sent me recordings of shows/radio sessions etc or anything else Crimea related in the past, the site wouldn’t be the same without you, and some day the recordings will get put up here. And if you didn’t catch the streams there’s plenty more to keep you occupied, lord knows I’m hardly ever away from the PC these days…
Lets start with this: Tragedy Rocks is out now in the UK, your local record store should have it in. Andy’s Records in Aber does, he even had a sign outside advertising the fact. With their history, I didn’t see that coming, but the sight was so good I had to capture it (see right). Online it’s selling like hotcakes on a cold day, shooting up to 170 on’s sales chart earlier today, it’s still below 200.
Now, I hope you’re signed up to the band’s official mailing list. If not, you can via their official site, and you’ll be greeted with all manner of news such as the following: The Crimea will be appearing on the BT Digital Music Awards 2005 on Channel 4 tomorrow evening (Wednesday 19th) at 11.40pm. They’ll be giving Lottery Winners On Acid the once over for your listening pleasure; viewers in Wales can catch it on S4C on Sunday 23rd at 3.35am (that’s Saturday evening for you night owls).
Also mentioned in the last mailout was a Tragedy Rocks e-card. Click here for the beautiful mini-site featuring song clips from the album, tour dates, all the vital links and a chance to win a signed Tragedy Rocks album.
And on with the reviews. Crud Magazine gave the album 4/5 but christ, when will they stop going on about steel drums? I swear, there are none. Anyone saying otherwise again will get my steel drum shoved over their head.
Big time? It don’t get bigger than Microsoft. You may hate em, but not for their review of Tragedy Rocks, with lines such as “The Crimea pose a danger to both The Flaming Lips and Radiohead, who could struggle to win back their alternative crown”.
From the big hitters to the.. err.. Jewish Telegraph. Obviously not picking up on the band’s seemingly anti-religious stance they highly recommend it, even based on the song titles alone.
Taking a break from the album, Yahoo Music have a review of the Lottery Winners On Acid EP up and give it as good a review as everyone else is giving the album.
Back to Tragedy Rocks, and the band in general, The Music Edge have a huge feature on the band based around a telephone interview with our Davey, who happened to mention ?There was a distinct stop and start? between the Crimea and a certain former band. Sure, in your head, like.
Gigs wise, the Carling Live site has a preview of The Crimea’s Camden Barfly show on October 11th. And, unlike myself, you may notice that was over a week ago. A good read nontheless.
Cornerstone Media, some kinda PR PR people, have obviously sent out another Crimea related mailshot as both Now On Tour and Rift Rock have a small news article on the Baby Boom music vid, available to view online as a stream viw Warner Brothers. Meh, we don’t put up with that kinda stuff round here, download the whole thing to view at you leasure right here.


Rating: * * * *

Davey Crockett was the cross-wired dishevelled teenager with all the explosive at the top of The Crocketts? rusty indie canon. Davey MacManus, leader of The Crimea, is that bug burst out of its cocoon, turned butterfly with singed wing tips. Welsh upstarts The Crocketts were a guilty pleasure back in the late 90s, scattering crude shrapnel far and wide with a begrudging magnetism to all things dramatic and ultimately anthemic. They were never meant to last though, their rough, impulsive purpose was only underlined by their brevity. There was already a hint of songcraft, of a gentle unravelling of emotion deeper than the surface, throughout their work. But it is still right that MacManus has moved on and started a fresh slate with this continuation in his development. It makes the difference in approach quite clear.

He?s not the boy he was. He?s all grown-up. Almost. He?s shed a skin or two, and grown yet more. Impulses give way to thoughts and vivid pop ambitions. Raw angst gives way to the marinated and browned variety. It?s his existence through a frosted pane of glass, turning more slowly on a musical toy merry-go-round, psychedelic, but in focus. His acoustic-pop foundation stacked up with miscellanea, heart-squeezing melody and sprinkles of adrenaline remind to an extent of Bright Eyes with his awkward approach to straightforward melancholy. Or perhaps Mull Historical Society with his fresh poise and sharp angles, but without a lung full of fresh air.

There are some truly irresistible moments throughout the record, not least the radiant ?Girl Just Died? which is as bright as a bleached box of sunshine on a spring, hiding a typically dark, bubbling lyrical undercurrent. ?Losing My Hair? is like Grandaddy drowning their sorrows on the Magic Roundabout, ?Lottery Winners On Acid? is a cute steel-drum daydream with a coarse aftertaste, and ?Baby Boom? is a strangely romantic formal waltz draped in fairy lights. It can sound rather ordinary when it takes its eye off the flame, but has quirks aplenty to bump it back out of line when needed, namely Davey?s inimitable passive-aggressive input. He could yet turn into something special, this takes him a step closer.

Review by James Berry for Crud Magazine, 15/10/05.

Album Reviews

This week’s new albums rated or slated


They may possess one of the most deceptive names imaginable for a 21st century band, but The Crimea do have an eye for a song title.

If their name conjures up images of handle-bar mustachioed rockers just one cap-sleeved T-shirt short of Spinal Tap, then songs like White Russian Galaxy or Lottery Winners On Acid more than make-up for any aesthetic shortcomings.

One of the late John Peel’s favourite new acts, the band first came to the attention of Travis’s singer Fran Healy, though their music owes little to the campfire melodies of the Glaswegians. Instead, The Crimea make inventive power pop of a West Coast bent, which veers wildly between end of pier carnival anthems and Smashing Pumpkins-esque alt-rock.

With a refreshingly unique ear for melody and off kilter instrumentation, The Crimea pose a danger to both The Flaming Lips and Radiohead, who could struggle to win back their alternative crown.

Review from MSN Entertainment, 14/10/05.


THIS may sound odd but I knew I would like The Crimea just from reading their song titles. As it’s a pre-release copy, I didn’t get any artwork or pictures of the band – all I had to go on was a typed list of song names like White Russian Galaxy, Lottery Winners on Acid, The Miserabilist Tango and Gazillions of Violins.

And they match their imaginative titles with a very listenable album of indie rock. Apparently in their previous guise as The Crocketts, they put out more than 30 releases in just a couple of years. I, for one, won’t complain if they do the same as The Crimea.

Review from the Jewish Telegraph.

Lottery Winners On Acid Review

Lottery Winners On Acid — the stateside debut EP from the Crimea — collects five of the best tunes from the group’s 2004 U.K.-only long-player Tragedy Rocks to create a superb little disc. Opening with “White Russian Galaxy,” brainchild Davey MacManus steers the band through a melodic swirl of 1960s and ’70s influences, as poppy acoustic verses give way to a thumping, electric refrain that’s as alluring as it is distinct. Better still is the tough title track, where MacManus and his co-conspirator/drummer Owen Hopkin mesh Marc Bolan with vintage Kinks. Yet the EP’s apex isn’t reached until “Baby Boom,” a tune that just might be the best song James never wrote. OK, the lyrics may be a little absurd — with references to Fred Flintstone and Tarzan — but you’ll have trouble getting it out of your head just the same. If the closing shots are less spectacular, at least the Crimea have enough good sense to bolster their stardust-sprinkled glam rock with a reckless roar.

Review by John D. Luerssen for All Music Guide 13/07/05, via Yahoo Music.

The Crimea: In the Wake of Tragedy

On the line with Davey MacManus

It?s the last day in September. Time to wake up Green Day?s Billie Joe Armstrong and tell him Davey MacManus, the lead singer of The Crimea, is waiting on Line 1. An Irishman with a raspy accent, a lead singer and rocking guitar player by day and accordion player by, well, maybe in a different lifetime?chuckles profanities across the Warner Brothers interview phone line as the afternoon slips away on the West Coast and Davey?s nightlife preparations are in full swing out on the East Coast. Davey informs me of their show at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City. ?Hey, ya comin? to the gig tonight? I?m sure you?re invited, f* *k I know you?re invited.? I laugh and reply, ?I wish I could?but I?m in California, I don?t think I?d make it in time.? ?Oh, well s**t, next time then.? He apologizes.

Hatched in the so-called ?hood? of East London, Davey explains that he stumbled into singing by mere accident, and that his music career simply just happened. Kind of a lucky accident, if you ask me, seeing that The Crimea?s fan-base and international net of exposure increases daily. The Crimea, composed of Davey MacManus (vox/guitar), Owen Hopkins (drums), Andy Norton (guitar), Andrew Stafford (keys/vox) and Joseph Udwin (bass/vox), blends classic song structures from the 60s and 70s with the sounds of the 80s, to create what resembles a melancholic mix of Leonard Cohen, The Pixies and The Flaming Lips.

Inspired by U2, old Irish tunes, a heap of classic 80s rock and Dusty Springfield (who appears in track 11, ?The Miserabilist Tango?), MacManus sings about everything from forbidden love, Tarzan, self-control and suicide to the gambles and risks of ordinary daily life. Sparked by the devolution of MacManus? previous British rock band, The Crocketts, The Crimea announced its U.K. invasion back in 2002. MacManus describes the switch not as a transformation nor a transition, but something different and new altogether. ?There was a distinct stop and start? once The Crocketts were over, he says. The Crimea developed vehemently, creating a new start, new sound and new band.

When asked about the origin of the band name, MacManus concludes he chose it because he wanted something with a slash of sorrow and a hint of historic sentiment, something like the Crimean War. He wanted a name that was ?significant, but not too horrific.? He laughs. Certainly the Crimean War fits the bill then. The imagery of the name and the significance it evokes matches the bombardment of emotion filling the nooks and crannies of the powerful songs.

First discovered at SXSW 2004, The Crimea was quickly snatched up by the Helter Skelter Agency, which first fueled current hot artists such as Coldplay, Eminem, Ash and Queens of the Stone Age. Soon after the band signed with Warner Brothers, they set out to complete their latest juicy 12-track album, Tragedy Rocks.

The tone of a few of the songs is so grim that it brings to mind a dream in which you feel trapped in a dark, cold, abandoned stone and charcoal castle in somewhere like ancient Czechoslovakia or 18th century Russia.

Capturing humanity in its barest, harshest form, Tragedy Rocks rips open the deepest scars we try to hide with tracks like ?Opposite Ends? and ?Baby Boom,? allowing us to experience humankind?s brutality through the comfort of a song. The tone of a few of the songs is so grim that it brings to mind a dream in which you feel trapped in a dark, cold, abandoned stone and charcoal castle in somewhere like ancient Czechoslovakia or 18th century Russia. In this dream, the drum rhythms and dreary toy piano sounds, and the pain in MacManus? voice, make you feel alone, like you?re being watched by vampires in this haunted castle, surrounded by no colors, no warmth and no hope. Interestingly, what is induced in the listener through ?Opposite Ends? is literally what MacManus experienced while writing the song.

He wrote it during Christmastime while living in an old brewery in Aberystwyth, Wales (U.K.), with no working plumbing or electricity. MacManus, overwrought by guilt and shame from a relationship gone sour by the sword of his own tongue, locked himself away and emerged with a living song, breathing pain and reality with each word and chord. That?s the amazing thing about Tragedy Rocks; each song is so honest and real, it makes the album come alive, importing a set of separate memories?MacManus? memories?into your subconscious, getting underneath your skin and sticking with you for days on end.

The recording experience for Tragedy Rocks was, in a word from MacManus, ?Awesome!? Spending two and half months in Mississippi for part of the recording, and then trekking back and forth across the United States, touring and stopping roadside in the middle of nowhere to shoot candid tour-van videos. MacManus says they just had fun and chose their best songs to go on the album; it was that simple. He says the highlight of their tour was meeting such a variety different people and discovering Americans for themselves. As the interview comes to a close, he assures me they will be back in full force at the end of the year, and I reply on behalf of the U.S., ?We can?t wait!?

Thanks to Davey and The Crimea!

For more information:

“White Russian Galaxy”

?Baby Boom? Video


Review by Amanda Andreen for The Music Edge, 14/10/05.

The Crimea + support TBC
Tuesday 11th October

Fast-rising five-piece The Crimea are set to play a Carling Live Sessions show at the intimate Barfly, London on Tuesday 11th October. Following their appearance at the Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds Festivals, the band follow their hugely successful tour of the States with a handful of dates around the UK – tickets are on sale now priced ?6.50 +booking fee.

Formed during the summer of 2002 in East London, The Crimea are centred around the musical genius of frontman Davey McManus whose songwriting skills helped land the band publishing and label deals shortly after recording their first demos. With a string of highly acclaimed singles, ‘Lottery Winners On Acid’, ‘White Russian Galaxy’ and ‘Baby Boom’, under their collective belt, the band have attracted a die-hard fanbase in the UK as well making massive headway in the States this year following a sensational performance at the SXSW industry festival in Austin, Texas. Tours with Billy Corgan, Ash, Keane, Kings Of Leon and Dashboard Confessional have helped cement their ever-growing reputation for one of the most exciting live acts around and the Carling Live Sessions date will be the last time to see the band live before the release of their intoxicatingly inventive debut album, ‘Tragedy Rocks‘, on October 17th.

Gig preview from Carling Live.

New Crimea Video

From: Cornerstone Media

Here’s the latest from Crimea, the video for “Baby Boom” off the upcoming album Tragedy Rocks which is digitally available now through iTunes but will be coming out early next year.

“Baby Boom” was voted into the top 10 of John Peel’s “Festive Fifty” on the legendary John Peel Show – ahead of the White Stripes.

“Baby Boom” Video:

Windows Media Low
Windows Media Medium
Windows Media High


Free, legal MP3 of “White Russian Galaxy”

News from Now On Tour, 06/10/05.

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2 Responses to “The Crimea Take Off”

  1. Denyer says:

    > who happened to mention ?There was a distinct stop and start?
    > between the Crimea and a certain former band. Sure, in your head, like.

    Eh, he’s trying his best. ;-)

    A lot of reviews and infomercials I’ve seen don’t make the connection, actually. The distancing is working fairly well.

    > The tone of a few of the songs is so grim that it brings to mind
    > a dream in which you feel trapped in a dark, cold, abandoned stone
    > and charcoal castle


  2. Christopher says:

    > The tone of a few of the songs is so grim that it brings to mind
    > a dream in which you feel trapped in a dark, cold, abandoned stone
    > and charcoal castle

    ‘course, round aber, we feel like that all the time :o P

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