THE CRIMEA

More Reviews

Just a few more things to end the day with: Felix Online have a review of what I presume is the 100 Club show from January 25th. It seems to sway from loving the band to hating them. But they love love loved the bubbles.
A kinda review/recomendation for the single is part of Webchat.org’s February newsletter.
Gurbs points you all towards the Guardian’s review of the 100 club gig. I dunno what the 3/5′s all about cos they seemed to love it.
And the icWales site has a bio/recomendation/thing about The Crimea in their Welsh bands roundup. There’s also some stuff on fellow Aber locals the The Hot Puppies and The Poppies, both of whom I can recommend personally.

The Crimea – The End (Live)

[3/5 Stars] (`cause they had bubbles and free stuff )

For all of those embryonic bands out there that make dodgy mix tapes and mail them to anyone stupid enough to leave their address on the Internet, there is a chance that one day you will play to more than three men and a dog down at your local. Just don’t give up is the general idea. So here’s a little storey to warm the hearts of DB regulars like Donkey Box and other similarly named animal paraphernalia.

The Crimea first started out as The Crocketts and in 1998 had the break of a lifetime when they were singed to the major UK label V2. 30 releases, two full-length albums and fifty thousand sales later, they were unceremoniously dropped in 2001. Did Davey, Owen or Andrew give up and turn to their fall-back careers in debt management? Don’t be silly, that’s too much like WORK. Instead they became hermits cocooned in music and transformed themselves in to The Crimea while starting on their aptly named first LP Tragedy Rocks.

In early 2003, a Warner Label producer was happily driving down the M1 when he was stuck by a Muse re-mix. A quick rummage through a box of tapes enlisting the help of his kids (technology makes things so small these days you know) and The Crimea were signed. Please, before we carry on, could you close your mouth?

As I always seem to find myself behind the thickest person that just can’t quite get to grips with using correct change while waiting to get a tube ticket, I ended up missing out on the free canap?s and white russians; see what they did there?

White Russians! Canap?s! Invitation Only! Well, we music types don’t like being associated with the riff raff and, frankly, the smelly general public such as yourself and like to enjoy exclusively secular conversation. Example: “Oh Peaches Apple Fruit (case) darling! How is the exclusive and most expensive new mysterious Tibetan mountain juice working out for your hypoallergenic stomach lining?”

Even with such a stuffy crowd, Davey still found it in him to wonder round half-screaming, half-singing at frozen vodka-guzzling thirty-somethings, which is scary because he is rather veiny. Next up he was pulling a silent tantrum, fit for any mute baby, when his guitar strap broke, poor soundman I feel for you, I really do. If that wasn’t enough amusement for the evening the drummer was a rather convincing Snape look alike, which kept me going as the empty trays swept past.

The Crimea only played a thirtyminute set, which is rather short in my book and I’m [sic] dyslocksic, with songs off their new album `Tragedy Rocks’. However, only two songs stuck with me after that evening. The first was From Russia With Love which had a really strange but beautifully filling organ backing, combined with dominant drums, a mournful voice and cleverly layered melodies from the guitarists created a smooth but rocky anthem.

Lottery Winners On Acid was the final song of the set and I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it, having been drilled into your head by radio stations across the country. It was the only happy song of the set and for good measure bubbles were liberally sprayed on everyone in the room, quickly transforming everyone to a five year old, excellent fun. It had a spirit lifting, happy feel to it as found in many a fairground jingle, giving it an almost psychedelic rock feel – it’s so sweet in fact that I have a sneaky suspicion that if you listen to it too much you may end up with suicidal tendencies; you have been warned.

The Crimea have been compared to everyone from The Pixies to Dusty Springfield. Why would anyone with any hint of taste bring her into it, I don’t know but the only reason they get such comparisons is because they sound like everything that has gone before. Lottery Winners On Acid is a sure-fire one-hit wonder money-spinner. I feel sorry for The Crimea as they are the result of a music industry that refuses to let go, take risks and progress. Shame on the Warner Label.

Review by George X for Felix Online issue 1341, 26/01/06.

Webchat Newsletter : February 2006

Guffs tune of the month…

It’s one I’ve been playing religously at Work of late. And I like it. It’s by a band called The Crimea (related url: http://www.inaudible.co.uk/crimea/) I’ve never heard of them until I heard this record – it was originally released as an EP back in October 2004 but it’d appear it’s being given another chance at the big time. I cant see it being a number one, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Beginning with what can only be described as a turntable guitar it pitches up to be a melodic masterpiece (we walked through the streets like lottery winners on acid) and almost has a kind of back street festive sound to it. Im tipping this for a short flutter in the UK top 20 and maybe, just maybe, it’ll prove a stepping stone for yet another great up and coming Indie band.

Who said music’s dead?!

The Crimea – Lottery Winners on Acid is released 9th January. Buy it.

Review by Gruff for Webchat.org Ferbuary 2006 newsletter.

The Crimea

4/5 stars. 100 Club, London

The official Crimea story is a fairy tale involving leader Davey MacManus and a chance meeting with Travis’s Fran Healy in Sainsbury’s. Next thing you know, the London guitar quintet are medium-hot tips for 2006, praised by enigmatic novelist JT Leroy and high on their record label’s “to break” list. That’s all true, and you can appreciate why Healy was impressed enough to introduce them to the right people, but their seamless confidence at this show owed itself more to a decade of hard knocks. They’ve been around since the 1990s, formerly as the Crocketts, and, in their current incarnation, were also hot tips back in 2003. This time around, though, there’s a right-place-right-time buzz.

The 100 Club’s full house – some of it lured by the current hit single, Lottery Winners On Acid – were infatuated by MacManus, the archetypal poetic Irishman. I overheard a woman, clearly old enough to know better, coo: “He’s my puppy.” Presumably, the adoration was welcomed by the singer, who admitted he’s not exactly a new kid on the block; “I’m showing my age with this one,” was his preamble to an incongruous cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere. Lilting and silvery-light, it stood out as the one number that didn’t reduce him to spasms of jerking anguish. Anguish is his group’s stock in trade, whether parcelled up as a deceptively giddy love song in Lottery Winners (he’s so cripplingly besotted that “if she gets bird flu, I want bird flu”) or brutally thrashed out on It’s Not Easy Being Weird.

Though technically mid-tempo rock in a Lightning Seeds vein, each song was treated as a mini-epic, with its own sound (fairy-chimes on Long Time Coming; stark, hollow-eyed rapping on Opposite Ends) and own debilitating effect on MacManus. Breathless and wrung out by the end, he didn’t look as if he’d be fit to play again for weeks. Apparently this happens at every show. Catch them before he succumbs to exhaustion.

? At Soultree, Cambridge (01223 477900) on Wednesday, then touring.

Review by Caroline Sullivan for The Guardian newspaper, 28/01/06.

Melody makers

Forget what you thought you knew about Welsh music, there’s a whole host of brand new groups to send you straight to the dance floor and right to the front of the mosh pit. Claire Hill spoke to some of the front runners

The Crimea
THE KEY to fame for The Crimea was when lead singer Davey Macmanus agreed to get his teeth fixed.

Disregarding what the band classed as a disastrous appearance at South by South West over a year ago, the US record companies were only interested in two things, giving the band a record deal and sorting out Davey’s teeth.

That deal was with Warner Bros and the past two years have been spent supporting high profile bands Kings Of Leon, Keane, Travis, Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan, Primal Scream, Stereophonics and Dashboard Confessional.

A couple of months ago when Frank Skinner wanted to look cool during a recent interview with McFly he said he turned up to a recent gig to watch the support act – The Crimea.

In musical terms it’s probably not the best name check, but it was on his national television programme.

Either way The Crimea won’t worry about that, “we’re not a cool looking band” announces Davey as he talks with excitement about returning to the UK to play their emotional songs.

“I wasn’t sure what people would think of it in England. In America people love a bit of emotion. It draws them in. But in this country people are a bit more beard scratchy, or cynical.”

“It was such a relief that it went well. Everyone was singing along which makes our job much easier.”

It’s not a surprise that the audiences are well versed with the band’s tunes, they’ve been on Radio 1, Radio 2 and XFM DJ’s and one of the singles, Baby Boom, even made number eight of John Peel’s festive fifty, a feat bands like The White Stripes failed. This year they topped that by reaching number two in the above chart with Lottery Winners on Acid.

But this successful band came out of another one’s failure.

“I always like to say we don’t have a starting point,” explains singer Davey Macmanus.

In reality Davey and Welshman Owen Hopkin met at Aberystwyth university and with some others formed The Crockets, got signed to V2, released two albums and then stuck together when the band got dropped.

“We got signed when we were 19 and then we were two 25 year olds who’d never worked a job in our lives but then had to. Owen was a school dinner lady and I was working in the park, when it came to it, it was either I was going to do nursing and Owen, law, or we’d just try again with the music. We just thought, ‘Let’s do it’.”

After decamping to London it took a while to find the rest of the members, Andy Norton, Andrew Stafford and Joe Udwin, but Davey said it was just right when they met. Once together the published poet worked on getting all of the songs, and the album just right. But Macmanus is pleased with the release of Tragedy Rocks.

“It’s just selling nicely, we’re really happy with the record and we’re just building up the cult thing. And thinking about the second record.”

News article by Claire Hill for the Western Mail, 14/01/06, taken from the icWales website.

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19 Responses to “More Reviews”

  1. Gurbs says:

    Think you missed this from the Guardian last Friday

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/reviews/story/0,,1696946,00.html

  2. Dan says:

    That’s the review of the secret gig at the End on november 29th. They gave away tickets in one of the mail outs

  3. Dan says:

    Sorry, didn’t make it very clear what I was talking about. I meant the Felix review

  4. Denyer says:

    Yeah, George does seem a bit schizophrenic…

    >> And they’ve got big plans for next tour, with an album and a desire to tour.

    "We’ll probably release another single early this year, but then we want to sort out a deal for the album." < <

    Woo ha! Go Puppies! :)

  5. Christopher says:

    >>That’s the review of the secret gig at the End on november 29th.

    ahhh so it is. cheers.

    >>Woo ha! Go Puppies! :)

    yeah, i was reading their message board, apparently the album’s out in the spring/summer on fierce panda. that’s the same lable as the llama farmers ain’t it?

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