THE CRIMEA

Crimea album reviews

Tragedy RocksPressing on, a bevy of album reviews… several for the recent UK version of Tragedy Rocks, a couple for the US version (due an official release this year) and one for the original UK mail-order album. They can be found at Vanguard Online, Screenagers (in Polish), iShotTheDeputy, Subba Cultcha, Heathen Angel, We Like Clubbing, London-Student.net, This Is London, Caught In The Crossfire, Whisperin’ And Hollerin’, and on a list by Babe_N_Co at Rate Your Music. Or just click that ‘more’ link. I may attempt a rough translation of the Polish review later…

The Crimea
TRAGEDY ROCKS
WARNER BROS 7/11/05

Chiming, swinging, groovy little album. Snappy and sharp tunes complement snappy and sharp lyrics.

“We walk through the streets like lottery winners on acid.’
“Everything she say, I was thinking anyway.’
And those are from just one song, a charming and smiling slice of love potion.
Followed by Opposite Ends, with the flipside of love.

Baby Boom announces an unwillingness to make babies that you´d hardly catch in the cute and bouncy lyrics – “You can call me Fred Flintstone, Tarzan, King Of The Jungle. I guess I was a little pre-historic at your place this afternoon.’

I could go on with quotes all day but should I spoil the charm for you? “If you want to see my happy side, better tell me that my girl just died’. Oh, there I go again.

This is lovely POP music. It reaches to past masters like They Must Be Giants while carrying a timeless indie sensibility that I suspect won´t one day sound aged and era-bound like contemporaries such as The Libertines. I mean, even go back to the recent past, and bands like Pulp already have a patina of age to the sound. This is sufficiently classic and ageless to sound good still in ten or twenty years. Moving on, we reach the fabulously titled Bad Vibrations, with a chorus that´ll still be echoing round my skull tomorrow. The Miserablist Tango offers verbal swordplay along with the opportunity to dance a step that´ll have devotees of the 4/4 beat falling over to the ripping guitar solo.

Really, this is cracking stuff, the product of a distinctive voice, refined over the last couple of years since the debut single into something polished and compacted into a diamond hard unit that, paradoxically, sounds like it fell fully formed into the lap of the band.

Review by Ross McGibbon for Vanguard Online.

The Crimea
Tragedy Rocks

17 pazdziernika 2005 – Warner

8 out of 10 stars.

Ciężko określić jednoznaczną postawę wobec tej płyty. Rok po brawurowym, wypuszczonym własnym sumptem debiucie The Crimea, jego ?prawidłowa?, wydana w połowie października dla dużej wytwórni wersja automatycznie pozbawiona jest świeżości poprzednika. Z drugiej strony, wyraźna odrębność formacji na mapie współczesnego brytyjskiego indie, inteligentny uniwersalizm tekstów Davey MacManusa oraz to niedefiniowalne, chemiczne ?coś? powodują, że to co rok temu można było kupić jedynie na koncertach, dziś mieni się barwami klasyki. Klasyki dla wąskiego kręgu odbiorców oczywiście. Dla nich ?Tragedy Rocks wersja numer 2? będzie płytą typu greatest hits.

Dla całej reszty należałoby w tym momencie nakreślić kontekst historyczny formacji, opisać ostatnie cztery lata tułaczki przeplatane niezliczonymi, fantastycznymi koncertami granymi niekiedy dla kilkunastu osób, permanentne okupowanie szczytów rankingów na najlepszy niepodpisany zespół oraz osobistą rekomendację Johna Peela, która niestety kontraktem nie zaowocowała. Szkoda, bo dziś moglibyśmy się już cieszyć drugim albumem The Crimea. Dopiero zainteresowanie ze strony wytwórni amerykańskich spowodowało, że na formację zaczęto przychylniej patrzeć w jej ojczystym kraju. Dziwna Brytania, chciałoby się rzec. Darując sobie wnikanie w szczegóły, jeśli nie znacie historii The Crimea, to zapamiętajcie: mieli przechlapane.

Jakkolwiek głupio to zabrzmi, ?Tragedy Rocks? tradycyjnie rozpoczyna ?White Russian Galaxy?. Ciężko wyobrazić sobie cokolwiek innego pod indeksem pierwszym. To jedna z kompozycji, którym studyjny lifting wyszedł na dobre: przenikające główny temat melodyczny banjo oraz rozemocjonowane podejście Davey?ego do linii wokalnej (znak firmowy The Crimea live) spowodowały, że lepsza aranżacja wyżej wymienionego wydaje się być niemożliwa. Fantastycznie wypadły ?Baby Boom? i ?Bad Vibrations?; ?Lottery Winners On Acid? oszczędził nam lekko drażniącego w swojej pierwszej wersji wyciszenia. Największy postęp widać jednak na płaszczyźnie spójności, w odróżnieniu od ubiegłorocznego, będącego luźnym zbiorem świetnych kompozycji albumu, nowe ?Tragedy Rocks? ma początek, środek i koniec, a wszystko spaja powoli snujący się klimat optymistycznej tragedii.

Jak na każde szanujące się greatest hits przystało, tegoroczne ?Tragedy Rocks? zawiera kilka nowych kompozycji. Konkretnie trzy: leniwe, nastrojowe ?Losing My Hair?, epickie ?Someone?s Crying? oraz moje ulubione ?Gazillions Of Miniature Violins?, w którego końcówce Davey na tle zamglonych klawiszy i łkających gitar osiąga stadium Jarvisa Cockera z czasów ?This Is Hardcore?. Bardziej wycieczka w czasie niż ponadczasowość, chociaż kto wie. Tak naprawdę jedyne co można zarzucić nowej wersji ?Tragedy Rocks? to nieobecność uważanego przez niektórych za najlepsze osiągnięcie zespołu ?Bombay Sapphire Coma? i… obecność ?Girl Just Died?. Ten ostatni typowano na przebój, co ewidentnie słychać po panującym w nim aranżacyjnym nadmiarze. Dokopanie się do genialnego (być może najlepszego od czasu ?Parklife?) britpopowego riffu jest tu skutecznie utrudnione, a dzwoniący mostek stymuluje reakcje obronne. Nie będzie dziewiątki, ale i tak jazda obowiązkowa dla spóźnialskich.

Review by Tomasz Tomporowski for Screenagers, 25/11/05

The Crimea – Tragedy Rocks (album)

If you don’t know already, The Crimea are the Phoenix rising from The Crocketts’ ashes. This means we can still enjoy mad singer Davey’s husky howling and morbid lyrics. we can’t, however, still enjoy The Crocketts’ screechy punkiness and lunacy.

Just as well though. Tragedy Rocks. Really, it does! Strangely melancholic, it leaves a bit of a depressed aftertaste in places. A bit like expressionist poetry comparing blossoming carnations to gory surgery – intriguing.

And it sure sounds BIG, no expenses spared here – jangly guitars, big guitars, nice background howling, angry howling, crazed mumbling, more big guitars … if it wasn’t for the fact it is just so darned good, it could easily be dismissed as ‘indie stadium rock in the making’.

Review by Julia Vergho for iShotTheDeputy, 30/11/05.

Tragedy RocksThe Crimea
Tragedy Rocks

Warner Bros

The overwhelming feeling of tragedy shines through on this LP – front man Davey McManus sounds like a man that´s lost it all, yet manages to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and soldier on despite it all. The album is bittersweet, but concentrating less on the bitterness. “Lottery Winners” on Acid in particular has the sort of compelling something-of-absolutely-devastating-proportions-has-happened-but-sing-and-we´ll-get-through-it-together kind of chorus, which is in a similar vein to the fantastic Float On by Modest Mouse. “Opposite Ends” has a delicious yet brutal essence of self-loathing, with lyrics like “It takes one black cloud to spoil the bright day, I was the black cloud, she was the bright day” sung to an eerie tune.

“Bad Vibrations” has a really cool noodly guitar running through it that sounds like rainbows, but much harder of course. The lyrics “All this talk about love and peace, doesn´t make much sense” pretty much sums up the feeling of this album – the feeling of being confused cos you´ve missed the point that everyone else got. Instead of letting it frustrate them, The Crimea just shrug it off and keep going. This LP is one of those records about not so happy things, set to really uplifting tunes; and it´s this excellent juxtaposition that really gives it that extra dimension. They don´t fail to show their love in what they do, despite the record being rather melancholy, and some of the songs quite simple and slow. However, what sets The Crimea apart from the usual drab that I seem to be describing is that they actually believe in themselves and say things that actually mean something.

Review by Katie Probert for iShotTheDeputy, Subba Cultcha, 21/11/05.

The Crimea – Tragedy Rocks

Rating: 7/10

Tragedy RocksIn a year when anonymous indie rock and/or roll flooded the earth like a great plague of tight denim and tighter facial expressions, it´s nice for something like this to dodge the bullets and flirt around the issue of committing themselves to the pack while withholding a much needed personal sense of identity. The Crimea are fresh. The debut outing from the Davey McManus Warner Bros. released band shows real invention throughout and although the quality of the songs pale as the tracks roll on, a real sense of charm and ability continually shines through. The first 5 songs are as good as any debut album released this year. A sweeping guitar intro opens into a hyper poppy number with the biggest sing-a-long chorus on offer during ‘White Russian Galaxy‘. ‘Lottery Winners On Acid´ follows suit and battles for the highlight position along with ‘Baby Boom´, while darker numbers like, Mewithoutyou sound-alike ‘Opposite Ends´ and ironically upbeat ‘Girl Just Died´ with the chorus line “If you want to see my happy side/better tell me that my girl just died’ lay the scene for ‘Tragedy Rocks‘ to be a real surprise package.

Unfortunately the final 5 tracks are noticeably more negligible than the first 20 minutes. It´s a shame but The Crimea still show some serious potential and McManus´s lyrical technique and singing style (most similar to Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame) single him out as a potential star for the future.

Review by Luke Ramsden for Heathen Angel.

The Crimea- Tragedy Rocks

5 out of 5 stars.

‘Tragedy Rocks´ is full of melancholy, which makes it no different from a million other albums that are currently available. However despite the melancholy- this album has lots of incredible melodies and catchy choruses, which you cant help but hum along to.

The Crimea sound very similar to the Flaming Lips and at times they have captured that peculiar sound that has made The Flaming Lips so well known.

The songs are well-written and the entire album it is a constant battle between humour and bleakness- which is ironic considering the band are named after a famous conflict.

Review by Luke Seagrave for We Like Clubbing.

The Crimea: Tragedy Rocks

They seem to be weirdoes! It is pretty harsh to start off a review with that kind of comment, but quite frankly they have song titles by the glorious names of ‘Lottery Winners on Acid´, ‘Miserabilist Tango´ and (my personal favourite) ‘Girl just died´ featuring the overtly caring and heart-warming lyric “If you wanna see my happy side, better tell me that my girl just died’ Lovely!
Moreover, this band mix catholic boy choir singing with Muse-alike freak-out guitars and some rather strange lyrics, that must have come out of some drug orgy gone terribly wrong.
No doubt this band has a talent for composing and for exploring alternative sound structures, but most of the time their tunes are filled with annoying dissonances that forbid you to listen to it more than twice. Not to speak of enjoying it!
One of their more glorious moments is the tender ballad ‘Baby Boom´ (titles, here we go again) which involves sensitive slide guitar chords and a well-crafted build up to the heart wrenching ballad end explosion with piano and everything.
…And what is the rapping all about?
WEIRDOES!!!

Review by Linda Aust for London Student Online.

Top of the pops in 2005

Damon Albarn pushed the boundaries, Goldfrapp gave us glam rock and Madonna revisited disco. Our critics name the best – and worst – albums of 2005….

The Crimea
Tragedy Rocks (Warner Bros)
Given the lack of record label push, this band seem destined to fall by the wayside. Which would be a shame as the most unashamedly beautiful album of 2005 deserves much better, just as the elegiac Lottery Winners on Acid and White Russian Galaxy deserved to be huge hits.

Review by JA for This Is London, 16/12/05.

The Pit – 2005′s Top 5′s

So we thought we may as well deliver you our top 5 guitar based albums from our main 3 music writers on this site.

Dee Massey’s Top 5′s

THE CRIMEA ‘ TRAGEDY ROCKS´
Warner
www.thecrimea.net
Tragedy RocksIts been a long time in the making but rising from the ashes of The Crocketts ‘THE CRIMEA´ step up to the breach with this intelligent, bright, sometime infectiously poppy (Lottery Winners on Acid´), sometimes dark ‘ (Someone´s Crying) and sometimes uptempo (‘White Russian Galaxy´) album. Davey MacManus´s writing veers towards fervent, and the passion of his live performance is captured on the album. Lyrics are spun with sometimes disturbing undertones, yet balanced with every present catchy hooks, and a bright round sound, the album and soaring melodies – it´s a tidy little package bursting with promise that leaves you buzzing – it´s no wonder John Peel was such an ardent supporter of the band.

Review by Dee Massey for Caught In The Crossfire.

CRIMEA, THE - TRAGEDY ROCKS‘CRIMEA, THE’
‘TRAGEDY ROCKS’

Genre: ‘Rock’ –  Release Date: ‘November 14th, 2005′-  Catalogue No: ’9362497982′

Our Rating: 7 out of 10 stars.

You would certainly not accuse The Crimea of being short on musical ideas. Following the classical piano of the introduction you get: angular guitar riffs, spinning keyboard lines, dropping to plucking acoustic guitars, catchy melodic choruses with haunting female vocals, dropping to dark rolling Hammond, shouty-group choir choruses and the line “Who knows what goes on in your pretty little head?” sung like a slightly subversive Tweetie Pie. This is all before you’ve left the first song!

Following “White Russian Galaxy” is former Zane Lowe single of the week “Lottery Winners on Acid” where added to the mixture are xylophone breaks, pump organs and squelching, swirling guitars (Not to mention a bit of classical piano). It really is rather a lot to take in- but it’s so sweetly packaged that it is certainly more mesmerizing than intimidating. A beautifully woven tale of devoted love “If she likes Gordon’s, I like Gordon’s, if she likes the black stuff I like the black stuff too” – underneath the musical ideas, it is very simply a good song.

In many ways it is difficult to narrow down the highlights- Opposite Ends is almost Pulp-like. Its semi-spoken tirade of angst-ridden narration over brooding choral backing is dark and clever. Then there is the bittersweet humour of Baby Boom or even better Girl Just Died- which combines catchy hooks and melodies over a 60′s back-beat and woozy guitar – “If you want to see my happy side, Better tell me that my girl just died”. There really is a lot to like.

The problem is that after the first 5 tracks- it all seems to die away. To be fair lyrics are consistently interesting, showing off front-man Davey MacManus’s literary bent. Even the song titles are intriguing (my personal favourite being Gazzilions of Minature Violins) but the off-kilter lines don’t feel so essential when not accompanied by such a mesmerizing musical accompaniment. There are still etheral guitars and choir chantings but the songs aren’t bursting at the seams like the earlier ones.

With far less to go on the later songs very much sink or swim on whether you like MacManus’s vocal style. It’s a very unique sound, not dissimilar to a huskier version of Jonathan Donahue (from Mercury Rev) but as with all unique sounds it has the possibility of making enemies as well as fans. This of course is a shame because really The Crimea are very talented act and when firing at their best they produce some quirky but truly brilliant music.

Review by Jon Brombley for Whisperin & Hollerin.

The Crimea

Tragedy Rocks (2004)

Tragedy RocksIn a nutshell, The Crimea are a revised version of the amazingly good “The Crocketts”, maintaining the lead (Davey ‘Crockett’ MacManus) and drummer (Owen Hopkin) but having a slightly different line up guitar and bass wise. From the direction of the two original members they maintained a rather evolved sound not too dissimilar to The Crocketts themselves, and take it from me that isn?t a bad thing at all.

The album starts off with The Crimea’s latest single release White Russian Galaxy, a Vocal and bass drum heavy melody which is addictively catchy and filled with a combination of piano and an ever present bass line from both the drummer and bassist playing together excellently to create quite an effect. From one single to another, Baby Boom has a stunning opening line of guitar work which carries on later on in the song, quite possibly one of the best songs on the album due to the mix of the stunning guitar work and MacManus’ distinctive Vocals playing against each other in turn.
On from this is Miserablist Tango, a slow almost angry at times vocal song which builds up and up for the chorus and goes eerily quiet at times which is backed up by an eerie instrumental later on. Bad Vibrations starts off with a cheery melody, but with lyrics like “Feel the Hurt, Feel the pain” the title of the track comes into play, backed up with a bit of acoustic guitar and later an almost prog-rock guitar riff it makes for an excellent song.
Lottery Winners on Acid is a Live favourite, as mentioned in the Borderline gig review and seems somewhat refrained on the album, with a toned down MacManus and heavy amounts of keyboards, this track is a low point of the album in my opinion as it just doesn?t seem to fit correctly. On from this, Opposite Ends which has an Ooberman styled opening leads into MacManus’vocals, again with a distinctive touch to it, which further leads into a slightly unconventional chorus where the guitar and bass mimic MacManus’ voice along with him, unconventional it may be, it produces a very well done effect. Howling At The Moon contrasts the last song by starting off fast and keeping the up the same tempo and pace pretty much all the way through only speeding up for the chorus which in itself is a toe tapping bit of genius. Back down in pace, The Great Unknown leads on with prominent piano backing, MacManus sounds like he’s whispering the song into your ear in a soft manner all the way through, which is well performed and ties into the theme of the song.
Bombay Sapphire Coma carries yet more excellent guitar work and a more melodic song than The Crimea usually do, but a fresh song none the less, which between two more depressing songs is a lift.
Back onto a more depressing song, with a backing beat I’d expect to see on a film OST for a war movie, Six Shoulders Six Stone is a song you can listen to over and over and not really get bored of it because it has a certain quality which keeps you interested, and entertained. The last track on the album Out of Africa continues with average pace of the album, and doesn?t give anything special like the other tracks do, but it still works well. Both of the last tracks sound the most like The Crocketts on the album, with MacManus trailing his words slightly on both in a style like he did on The Great Brain Robbery.

Overall, if you were a fan of The Crocketts you’ll love this album to bits, at times it seems a bit samey its more Crocketts evolved with a slight tang to it. If you’ve never heard The Crocketts its hard to pin down another band who sound similar but across the board but the Crimea range from Rocky Pop to Melancholic Punk with a dash of Alt.Indie thrown in for free.
Tragedy Rocks currently doesnt have a release date set in stone, but expect it to hit the shops some time late this month/early April, but you can order the CD from the Bands website on the link below!

Review by Babe_N_Co from the Rate Your Music site.

Added to the The Crimea category/s. Follow responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply