Reviews & Photos

Tragedy Rocks review at King Of Quiet, it’s one for everyone who bought the last version. Hit More to read it.
Thankyou very much mr James Ellaby, editor of Manchester Entertainment Online who pointed me towards their review of The Crimea’s gig at The Roadhouse a few days ago.
Over on Livejournal, Turkeyphant has posted his review of the Cambridge Portland Arms gig with a few pics, the last of which is a rather interesting set list. You can post your best ideas for what the “X, A, E2″ stuff is by hitting More.
And for some photos, check out Flickr or more specifically, barney britton’s shots from the Newcastle show and judyboo and Colonel Fabian’s of the Harlow Square gig. The latter of whom just happens to be and ex-member of Crocketts fans El Spoonio who’s now in The Shadow Project. If they’re as good as El Spoonio then they’re most deffinately excellent.

The Crimea – Tragedy Rocks (Warner)

I nominated last year’s release of Tragedy Rocks by The Crimea as one of my three favourite records of last year, but that didn’t save it from soon becoming unavailable in its original home-recorded and self-released form. For some time it has fetched a fair sum on Ebay as devoted fans, swelled in number by the band’s relentless touring, hunted it down. I’ve probably missed my chance to make a quick buck on it, as the release of the new re-recorded version following the band’s signing to Warner may make the old version less valuable. It’s great to see the band getting the promotion they deserve, however: characterised by superb tunes, richly and cleverly arranged and underpinning some inspired lyrical imagery, The Crimea’s output is a massive step on from the wildness of their predecessor group, The Crocketts. They are possibly the last true guitar pop band in the UK, and certainly Wales’s finest exports since the Super Furries.

For this release, six of the eleven tracks from the original album have been revisited, and a new four added. Universally, the old songs are instantly recognisable and retain the same fundamental arrangements as before, with some new lyrics on Opposite Ends, Baby Boom and one or two others. The vocal performances are perhaps a tad more harsh and manic, but still very recognisable and distinctive. In fact, they’re so close to the originals that a big question mark over the whole exercise must surely be why they felt the need to muck about with such a superb album at all: pressure from the record label, one must presume. All in all, it’s a bit like returning to a childhood holiday haunt and finding some bits redecorated but basically the same and other bits completely unrecognisable, or alternatively totally demolished. As ever with new versions of songs, you always prefer the version you heard first, so while the original still has a slight edge for me, someone coming to this version first will probably like it more: and why not, as it is still superb.

White Russian Galaxy, for my money the best single of 2003, remains the opener: it’s impossible to improve on perfection, so this slightly more sparse, or at least tight, arrangement, falls a little short. Even so, it’s fundamentally the same version, so it remains a great track. Opposite Ends has a more unhinged quality this time, which suits the lyrics, while a more prominent acoustic guitar has given Baby Boom more of a languid Sunday afternoon feel, which I think works rather well, and is also to be found on new entry Losing My Hair. As for the other new songs, Girl Just Died is the paciest, with a hard riff and catchy chorus. Gazillions of Miniature Violins and Someone’s Lying are both stately efforts that take the album to a calculatedly low-key conclusion. The latter seems to be an effort to write an atheistic gospel song, and generally works. It’s not as good as the previous album’s closer, Out of Africa, mind, and the loss of the five tracks cut from the 2004 version is probably to be lamented.

All told, it’s a rum do, comparing a new album to the band’s previous record, which was, er, the same record, but not the same record. So don’t you worry about it: just buy this, OK?

Review by John Kell for King Of Quiet.

The Crimea @ Roadhouse

The Crocketts?, youthful anthems of hosts, chickens and macho men, a woeful tale of missed opportunities. Two albums of ace tunes weren?t enough for them to set the world on fire, dropped by their label and disheartened by their failure the band split. From the ashes rose The Crimea, clutching his guitar and bringing drummer Owen along for the ride, Davey McManus gritted his teeth and started over.

Tonight, in the cosy surroundings of The Roadhouse, it?s hard to believe the band is still playing venues of this size. A recently re-recorded version of Tragedy Rocks has not long since been released, but even that?s not enough to sell this show out.

Walking on to the stage, grabbing his microphone stand and jumping straight back into the crowd, all the while muttering under his breath, Davey clearly hasn?t lot his eccentric touch. He spends the entirety of opening track ?Opposite Ends? wailing and convulsing in the middle of the crowd, the poetic nature of the lyrics still breathtaking after hundreds of repeat listenings.

Continuing with the fantastic double-header of ?Baby Boom? and ?White Russian Galaxy?, the crowd are somewhat restrained and things never really reach boiling point. The chugging bass and pounding drums contrast beautifully with Andrew?s tinkling of the ivories and Davey?s passionate vocals carry the songs through even the weakest moments. Most of the ?new? tracks that are on the re-recorded ?Tragedy Rocks? are given an airing tonight, and on the most part they are good. ?Gazillions Of Miniature Violins? provides the highlight, equal parts power and beauty, it sounds fantastic went brought to life on stage.

Looking slightly more haggard than on his first, second and er? third time around the ?buy our record, help us make the big time? circuit, Davey is still an electric prospect. He possesses that incredibly rare ability to command the attention of every person in the room, when he sings, everybody listens and hangs on every word. Even the slightly bizarre ones, ?you can call me Fred Flintstone? anybody? Repeated chants throughout the night from a certain ?fan? for ?Lottery Winners On Acid? are finally rewarded when the acoustic comes back out and they slide headlong into the opening refrain of their biggest hit to date. Rumours are rife that it?s to be re-released again as a single early next year.

Not as acrobatic as in their earlier dates, but with twice as much intensity and passion as before, The Crimea know they?re heading towards their last chance and that this time they have to make it count. A fantastic variation of ?Kumbaya, My Lord? on closing track ?Someone?s Crying Lord? builds to a startlingly gripping climax. There?s an obvious focal point to the group but nothing should be taken away from the rest of the band, there?s fantastic musicianship on show from all quarters tonight. Davey is only such a successful leading man, because he has such a talented supporting cast. Only time will tell if this time the story will, finally, have a happy ending.

Review by Jamie Barker for Manchester Entertainment Online.

The Crimea – The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Next on was the self-admittedly rather weird Davey MacManus and his band; together, The Crimea. Within moments we’d stopped staring and were quite getting into opener The Crimea – Opposite Ends and then The Crimea – Baby Boom. Despite recent reviews to the contrary, they sounded rather tight thankyewverymuch, especially the songs from The Crimea – Tragedy Rocks. There was a bit of a dodgy middle section to the set, but things were soon back on track with the psychdelic blissed-out melancholy (no, sire, that’s not a misnomer) of The Crimea – Lottery Winners On Acid. Overall then, a more than satisfactory show. Although, it cannot be denied that the free J?germeister handed out did somewhat implore me to write a positive account. That and the bubbles (yes, actual bubbles). And flashy lights. And scary sketch.

Review by Turkeyphant from

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6 Responses to “Reviews & Photos”

  1. El Houghton says:

    The ‘X’ in the Cambridge setlist stands for no chord, since Davey wasn’t playing his guitar in that song.

  2. Christopher says:

    oh so they are chords… what’s with the numbers?

  3. Denyer says:

    > As for the other new songs, Girl Just Died is the paciest

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. And he says he has the WRG single a moment earlier.

    Got my US version in the post now. Does that count as the "next" version? :o )

  4. joe says:

    i reckon its guitars!

    the X is for no guitar, the A is for Acoustic, E2 and E4 for Electric.

    Do i win a prize, or shall i just polish my chufty badge!

  5. Christopher says:

    not if your second name’s udwin :o P

  6. joe says:

    no im not THE joe, im just an average joe, and what do you reckon of my theory? and wheres my prize…..:D

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