THE CRIMEA

CD reviews today from Comfort Comes who give the album 8.8 / 10, We Like Clubbing who give the single 4 / 5, and the NME who give the single a… reccomendation? Read it with your own eyes, people (it’s actually just an online version of their magazine’s Inside Track article, see it here).
Random Crimea articles come from Andy Stafford’s local the Times & Star who mention a wedding’s on the cards… not for him though. And icWales who put a Welsh slant on their interview with Davey.
Another interview can be found over at Culture Deluxe which is actually a precursor to this old interview I’ve mentioned before. They also have a review of the 100 Club gig in January, heaping high praise upon the band.
On the other hand, Planet Rhythm seem rather biased. But they do have pics of the Soul Tree gig. Don’t be put off by them though, BBC Northamptonshire highly recommend you going along to the Soundhaus gig in Northampton on Saturday as part of their weekly gig guide.

Album Review – The Crimea – Tragedy Rocks
Score: 8.8

The Crimea are finally getting the attention they deserve. They recently signed to a major label and thus have bulked up their production efforts. It was only last month that the band came across my desk and this album has been a constant on the ole stereo. There is something about Davey Macmanus’ husky, throaty vocal and their use of instrument is just fantastic.
The album starts off with “White Russian Galaxy” which is full of instruments and massive melodies and some very crisp riffs. This would be a strong single candidate. Next, “Lottery Winners On Acid” one listen to this and it makes it all worth while. “Baby Boom” is rather an intoxicating song, it’s relaxed with some beautiful harmonies and it manages to reference Captain Caveman, Tarzan and Fred Flinstone. “Losing My Hair” switches things up a bit, it’s a bit more a ballad-esqe affair, but it works and it turns out to be a real stunner. Next, “Gazillions of Miniature Violins” what a song title, the track has a massive sound and some rather impressive guitar work. Album closer “Someone’s Crying” has singer Macmanus sound like he is on the brink, he is full of passion and emotion. The last two minutes of the track are simply mad.
Tragedy Rocks was a very enjoyable experience. It is a little rough in a few spots but overall the band have the talent and it really shines through on these songs. This is an accomplished and impressive debut.

Review by John Siwicki for Comfort Comes.

The Crimea- Lottery Winners On Acid

4 out of 5 stars.

‘Lottery Winners On Acid’ is another melodic masterpiece from the Crimea. It blends strange lyrics and melodic piano wizardry along with deft guitars to create a unique sound, which is reminiscent of the Flaming Lips.

This is one of those songs that works on such a subtle level that before you know it, it will be circling around your brain constantly.

Worth buying!

Review by Luke Seagrave for We Like Clubbing.

THE INSIDE TRACK WITH iPOD AND iTUNES

Underrated indie hopefuls The Crimea have an exclusive EP available featuring live and acoustic versions of ‘Lottery Winners On Acid’.

Reccomendation from the NME website, 21/01/06.

‘You’re in the charts? You’re still playing your sister’s wedding’

ROCK BAND The Crimea may be hitting the music charts but that will not stop them from performing at a special event in April.

Bridekirk’s Andy Stafford, who plays keyboards for the increasingly popular alternative rock/pop band, said his sister Rachel is getting married [in] April and the band will be there to play for her.

Rachel, 30, a teacher in Peterborough, will marry fiance Matthew Barnes at [a] Hotel [in] Cockermouth.

The Crimea’s first single, Lottery Winners on Acid, entered the charts at number 31 on Sunday night – a fantastic achievement for a first single.

With the might of the Warner label behind them, the re-launch of their album later this month and a second single coming out in March, life is looking good for the Bridekirk musician who gave up a job as a public relations officer to join the band.

Last week they appeared on Dermot O’Leary’s Saturday afternoon show on Radio 2, playing two numbers live.

Earlier in the day their single was featured on the Jonathan Ross radio programme. Ross praised the song and the band.

It is now almost two years since Andy, 28, decided to follow his love of music full time.

The band were signed to the Warner label after being seen at successful gigs in Texas and New York. Their first album was released in the USA before the UK.

They toured the States in 2002 and are heading back later this year. They also plan a tour of Australia and, over the next few weeks, a UK tour. They will be at the Brickyard in Carlisle on February 17.

A gig in the 100 Club – one of the best known music venues in London – has already sold out.

Andy was brought up in West Cumbria. His father, Jim, is a doctor at the West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven.

Andy went to Cockermouth School where he studied music and then to Manchester University. He joined a PR firm in London but said his ambition was always to play rock music.

Other members of The Crimea are lead vocalist and songwriter Davey McManus, of Ireland, lead guitarist Andy Norton and drummer Owen Hopkins, who are both Welsh, and bass player Joseph Udwin of Zimbabwe.

The band has toured with Travis, The Stereophonics and Echo and the Bunnymen. They won the ITV Wales’ Pop Factory Awards 2003 for the best new talent and were nominated in the NME Brat Awards.

The band has featured on Radio 1 and legendary DJ, the late John Peel, played their music. The band recorded their own Peel session and recently took part in Radio One’s John Peel Day.

Although this is the first time they’ve entered the top 40, The Crimea had some success with three previous singles, on independent labels, which broke into the top 100.

‘We’ve come a long way, but we still have a way to go,’ Andy said.

Article from the Times & Star newspaper, 20/01/06.

Numbers up for The Crimea

“THE only way a band gets successful these days is through sheer saturation,” said the 29-year-old who admits to aspiring to be Dusty Springfield.

“We’re lucky enough to be on a label capable of saturation.”

Davey has the habit of making himself sound like a sell-out.

But listen to his lyrics on the acclaimed Tragedy Rocks and talk to him a little longer and you realise he’s just excited about a well-deserved big break.

Davey spent seven years with the Aberystwyth-based folk punk band The Crocketts (he once played a summer fayre at Merthyr Rugby Club).

And he says it was the years of slogging with little recognition that means he shudders at the cult band tag.

“I want every chav on the street to know our records!”

After years gigging in the US, The Crimea finally signed to Warner Brothers in the UK in September.

They were worried about ‘messing it up’ over here and so delayed the onslaught on the British music scene while they perfected a sound so eclectic it should be chaotic but manages not to be.

“We weren’t ready for the rigmarole trying to get into the Top 40.”

Jangly loved-up singalong Lottery Winners on Acid reached number 31 last month and John Peel was a fan.

“I’m delighted with it,” says Davey.

“I was trying to do reggae and sound like Dusty Springfield, which is what I’m always trying to do.”

Peel never liked The Crocketts but Davey said The Crimea was one of the last acts he championed on radio.

“You can’t not be honoured by that.”

Anyone listening to the album can’t fail to notice a resemblance to Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst with its slicing lyrics shrouded with an up-beat and the occasional almost-rap.

“That’s the first thing they ask me in the US.

“But I don’t see it.

“His is natural but mine is from smoking and being in a punk band for too long.”

Third single Babyboom, a hormone-fuelled apology to a girlfriend for being unwantedly randy, is released this summer and Davey says it’s the only recording he’s completely satisfied with.

“It’s got my hopes all wrapped up in it.

“The album was so massively over-produced by me.” (Davey has a studio at home and says the temptation just took over).

“I was trying to be the Eels but it just ended up with that bedroom sound.”

After a second stint in the studio post-signing, the album got remixed, with Davey keeping a close eye on his beloved project.

“I tried to keep it really earthy,” he said.

“To some of our fans it became too polished.

“But I don’t think I gave anything away and I don’t think it’s over the top, the production just gave it a fair chance.”

Littered with references to things being ‘just not cricket’ on Bad Vibrations (his attempt at capturing ‘quintessential parts of the English language’) Tragedy Rocks has been labelled as cynical miserabalism.

“I go for the normality,” says Davey, who adds the band are already working on an a ‘heavier’ album number two.

“It might sound cynical but I was just trying to be truthful.

“It gets so annoying hearing the stuff in the charts that goes on about the perfect world – life’s not like that.

“It’s really horrid.

“I tried to reach people with that and at the same time be a bit like Leonard Cohen.”

With a just scheduled date at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach next week, Davey says Wales can get used to seeing a lot more of The Crimea, and he’s not complaining.

Bandmate Owen Hopkin on drums is from Pontardawe near Neath and Davey has an Aberystwyth girlfriend.

He also did a year at a Welsh agricultural college and reveals the whole band are considering moving back to Aberystwyth where The Crocketts were a student hit.

“In Ireland we are Irish, In England, British and in Wales we’re Welsh,” he says.

“But I prefer that to the London-based quintet – It’s embarrassing – I want nothing to do with London.”

Nothing if not intense, Davey likens people buying and enjoying his music to the honour of seeing your name tattooed on someone’s skin.

He adds: “It’s like being a monk, it takes over your life. It’s about a passion.

“We aren’t drug addicts or alcoholics, it’s about us wanting to snog the world with our music.”

The Crimea play Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff next Tuesday, February 7.

For tickets call 02920 232199.

Article from the icWales website, 02/02/06.

Crimea River

The Crimea are great. We here at CDX like them a lot, mainly because they were gracious enough to let me interview them and come along to their industry showcase and drink free Kronenberg and White Russians. But their charity extends far beyond a couple of free gig tickets and indulging a couple of CDX lushes, oh yes. For Davey (MacManus, vocals) and Andy (Norton, lead guitar) were also kind enough to let me ask them some of the most inane and unhelpful questions ever asked outside of Popworld in a section that I’ve decided to call ‘Crimea River’. Read on and discover just how low one person will stoop to spend a couple of extra minutes in the company of two people he’s never met before in his whole life…

BGR: Does anyone have any good cold remedies I could try? I can’t seem to get this fucker shifted.

Davey: No, we’ve all had colds for weeks since we’ve been back in the UK!

Andy: We’ve been trying all sorts of medication, and when I say medication I mean medication in a quite liberal sense as well. I don’t think we’ve found a cure yet though.

Davey: Our bass player gets it worse than us because he’s from Africa and he’s not used to having a cold.

BGR: What’s your favourite river?

Andy: Crimea river!

Davey: Liffey, the river Liffey, just because it’s in Ireland (Davey is Irish).

BGR: What’s your favourite colour?

Davey: (Without hesitation) Blue.

Andy: Dark red.

Davey: BLOOD red’

BGR: Dark red or crimson?

Andy: No, just dark red.

BGR: What’s your favourite TV programme?

Davey: Father Ted, because of all the Irish connections.

Andy: For some reason it’s just come into head, but it’s Rab C. Nesbitt. I haven’t got a fucking clue why but I think I was having a conversation about it and I remember really liking it as a kid. I think it’s probably nothing like Scotland or Glasgow though.

Davey: It’s pretty like it I think.

BGR: If you could go into an old fashioned sweet shop right now and buy a bag of sweets from the jars behind the counter, what would you buy?

Andy: I think it would have to be gobstoppers.

Davey: (Reels them off at an astonishing rate) Frazzlesticks, white chocolate mice, lemon bonbons.

Andy: Are gobstoppers the ones that you suck on for ages, then there’s a little bit of juice in the middle that explodes in your mouth? I like them, the dark red ones especially.

BGR: And finally, if you could ask me a question, what would it be?

Davey: Are you in a relationship?

BGR: No.

Andy: Are you bisexual?

(Both Davey and Andy burst out laughing.)

Davey: Talk about putting him on the spot! He’s just asked us what our favourite colour is and now you’ve just asked him if he’s bisexual!

BGR: I’m asexual.

So there you have it. One likes blue, the other likes dark red (not crimson) and Davey thinks that Rab C. Nesbitt is an accurate depiction of everyday Scottish life. Oh, and I’m single.

Keep reading Culturedeluxe for a full interview and gig review that will be appearing very soon indeed. Well, tomorrow if you want an exact date. Honestly

Interview by Ben Goldrun for Culture Deluxe, 01/12/05.

The Crimea / Clearlake – 100 Club, London. 25.1.06

It’s Burns Night, a night where we should all be scraping ovine offal off our plates, reciting slightly antiquated verse and listening to the haunting sound of the bagpipes. But tonight I’m down in London and the ballads of Rabbie Burns are a long way away from the famous 100 Club and instead of haggis on the menu, it’s two of the music world’s most exciting “new” bands – Clearlake and, later, The Crimea.

So, no bagpipes tonight, but the military-style drumming employed on ‘Neon‘ sounds suitably regimental, mixed conversely with the harmonica – traditionally an instrument associated with peace and hippiedom – yes, Clearlake are a band anything but staid and formulaic. This is perhaps best demonstrated on current single ‘Good Clean Fun‘, a behemothic blues-out which has the crowd going, well however you do “go” to a track 2 parts shoe-gazing to 1 part psychedelia(smith). “Is wednesday the new thursday?” asks singer Jason Pegg to the audience before launching into indie anthem ‘I Hate It That I Got What I Wanted‘, “are Clearlake your new favourite band?” may have been a more apt question. That said, we have yet to greet the arrival of The Crimea, a band who recently dented the lower reaches of the top 40 (and scored a huge number two on the Culturedeluxe chart), so we’ll all keep our options open on that question.

When the band begin ‘White Russian Galaxy‘, soon to be re-released, with it’s enchanting melody and xylophone solos you can tell that The Crimea are a band who have done their time in rock as strains of jollier Auteurs songs and the better moments of early Radiohead come shining through. With material such as this the band could be the latest in the Franz Ferdinand – Kaiser Chiefs chain to succeed on second attempt. It doesn’t hurt that guitarist Davey McManus can pull off a reasonable guitar god impression too.

Recent b-side ‘You’ve Been a Long Time Coming‘ is a heart-felt ballad which has the crowd swaying long before it ends, and reminds you of what popular-by-default schmucks like James Blunt could achieve if they invested some time in songwriting and weren’t just so basically shit. ‘Girl Just Died‘ is a fuzzy pop treasure which could wow the listeners of radio 1 and 2 – “at the same time!” and probably would. The first set is completed by album-closer ‘Someone’s Crying‘, which has a fabulous alt.country sound reminiscent of Calexico and leaves the crowd salivating their return. And return they do, in some style, playing ‘Opposite Ends‘ which gets the crowd singing along, and they keep singing into a magnificent rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere‘ leading into the band’s finest moment to date. The quirky jangly intro to ‘Lottery Winners on Acid‘ fires up the crowd for a massive singalong to the Belle & Sebastian-esque (but better) melody. So, your new favourite band? Hell yeah.

Review by Ben Goldrun for Culture Deluxe, 01/02/06.

Gig guide: Previews & highlights
From local bands to international rock stars, here’s our guide to the live music highlights coming up in Northamptonshire over the next few weeks and months.

The Crimea, Clearlake & Marla Singer
The Soundhaus, Northampton
Saturday, 11th February 2006

The CrimeaFor the record, seeing any of these bands on their own billing would be worth the effort; so collectively, you figure it out! Starting with The Crimea, for those who cast their minds back and remember a band called The Crockets ‘ that’s him! Davey Crocket now fronts The Crimea and they’re amazing, trust us! Clearlake are those cheeky chappies full of English eccentricities. They’ve got a new album on the way too, hence this tour. And last but not least, local lads Marla Singer. A new sound and new songs are on the way. Given their pedigree, we can anticipate great things. Having yet to hear it for ourselves, we can only speculate, but the odds of it being great are dead cert.

Gig preview from the BBC Northamptonshire website, 01/02/06.

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