Reviews & Pics

Andy @ LiverpoolAnother review of the 100 Club gig comes in from Gig Wise, who rate it pretty favourably.
I just got sent a printed copy of this in last Friday’s “The Guide”, but the text version of The Guardian’s tour preview article is already up on their website.
A big review of the US album version from Stylus Magazine, I think the “B”‘s meant to be a rating. And another two LWOA reviews from Quasimodo Bell and Music OMH who both like it.
Some guy called Iggy has obviously noticed my abismal slowness at getting pics online and done it himself. Check out his snaps of the Liverpool gig right here.
Weird news of the day involves this website referencing a website referencing itself. Indie Surfer Blog have a post on having posts on The Crimea. At least somewhere inbetween they manage to get a full bio and photo in, and also give the wondeful Sleeper a decent mention too.
It’s been confirmed most places now – White Russian Galaxy will be the next single. The video involves some strange psycadilic car ride of sorts, includes *all* the band this time, and the single should be out on March 13th acording to New UK Single Releases. I’ve been around too long to believe any release dates this early.
Finally - following the slightly recursive theme of this post – a shout out to a guy who gave a shout out to myself but a few minutes ago. Long time Crimea fan Jon Birch has got his own radio show on Bristol Uni’s BURST radio, he’s on right now so have a listen online via their website.

Wednesday 25/01/06 The Crimea @ The 100 Club, London

No-one could accuse The Crimea of not having earned their rock ?n? roll stripes. Despite a succession of support slots for the likes of Keane, Kings of Leon and Ash; and being championed by the late John Peel as far back as 2003, the indie five-piece have been left out to graze in a musical wilderness for the past few years. Thankfully, all that is about to change and 2006 looks set to be a fantastic year for The Crimea. With their well-received debut album Tragedy Rocks (one of the albums of 2005 in London?s Evening Standard, despite being relatively unheard of), a top 40 hit single, and a handful of sell-out headlining gigs, the band?s notoriety is rapidly gaining momentum. The proof is in the pudding however, and tonight?s sell-out out gig at London?s 100 club gives the band a chance to justify their hype in front of a music-savvy crowd.

A cross between the inside of an Amsterdam brothel (er…or so I imagine) and the kind of gentlemen?s club of days gone by, the venue?s seedy, smoky ambiance is the perfect setting for a band like The Crimea to cut their musical teeth. Walking onto the stage under a cloak of darkness, it?s only when Davey MacManus steps forward into the focus of an eerily blue strobe light that the audience first catches a glimpse of the band?s eccentric frontman. ?We?re just a bunch of Buffalo, who?re getting slaughtered,? laments MacManus, as the shrill guitar hook of ?Baby Boom? gets underway. For those of you who have not formally introduced to The Crimea?s penchant for profound and deeply imaginative songwriting, the band can more often than not be found filed under ?B for bizarre?, along with the likes of the Flaming Lips and Pavement. MacManus can certainly coin an arresting phrase, as on ?Howling at the Moon?, where the singer philosophises ?On a scale of one to ten, let?s pretend that life?s a six or seven.? It may really just be a load of pretentious old claptrap, but it?s enjoyable claptrap nevertheless.

Elsewhere, ?White Russian Galaxy?, the album?s heaviest offering, livens things up with its pounding Stooges-esque guitar riff while ?Bad Vibrations? takes the mood back down a few pegs with its dizzy, infectious melody. With the current buzz surrounding the band?s debut, you?d have thought that the majority of tracks featured would have been hung out for a live airing. Surprisingly, this didn?t seem the case tonight and only about half of the album was performed. Instead, the set was littered with a host of weaker songs unknown to myself, and, judging from the audience?s indifference, them also.

Thankfully, the band managed to redeem themselves during the performance of their final two songs; the first being a spot-on cover of Fleetwood Mac?s ?Everywhere?, while concluding with the doe-eyed and totally tripped-out crowd pleaser, ?Lottery Winners On Acid?. Its twinkling glockenspiels and lovelorn lyrics left you heading home with exactly the kind of warm and fuzzy feeling that the song sets out to describe.

Review by Rick McEwen for Gig Wise.

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Nick Cave, on tour | Regina Spektor, on tour | Manchester V Cancer, Manchester | The Crimea, on tour

The Crimea
On tour

An object lesson in perseverance, the Crimea are long in the game, a little long in the tooth, but now, after mixed fortunes, look to be reaping a small kind of reward. Having done time in clay-footed Irish rockers the Crocketts, the band reconstituted themselves as the Crimea in time to be one of the last bands to have their demos championed by John Peel. Their album Tragedy Rocks appears to have landed Davey Macmanus and his band in the right place at the right time. Story songs and theatricality now in vogue, post Arcade Fire, Decemberists, etc, the likes of their Lottery Winners On Acid are in good company.

? Soul Tree, Cambridge, Wed 1; Met Lounge, Peterborough, Thu 2: Norwich Arts Centre, Fri 3

Review by John Robinson for The Guardian’s, 28/01/06.

The Crimea
Tragedy Rocks

In early 2003, two years before the great man?s death, BBC DJ John Peel hosted a live session with The Crimea and declared ?Lottery Winners on Acid,? the band?s British single at the time, one of his favorite songs of the past few years. Heady stuff for an autonomous Ukrainian republic with only a single to its name.

Fast forward three years: no more Peel favorites, alas, but The Crimea have released their major label debut, Tragedy Rocks. Peel, it is a fairly safe bet, would have been a fan. The album builds on the whimsical early promise of the band, delivering a clutch of bittersweet melodies designed to bury themselves in your subconscious and niggle at your cerebellum.

The album begins with a fussy, classical-styled 30-second piano intro which signals either high ambition or a juvenile sense of humor. Given the album that follows, which name-checks Fred Flintstone and Tarzan as well as the Almighty, it?s probably both.

Lead singer and songwriter Davey Macmanus can sound like a hoarse Ben Gibbard, with the same nasal, high school earnestness, something he deploys to winsome effect on ?Lottery Winners? and its erstwhile B-side, ?Baby Boom,? both cleaned up and re-released here, to somewhat ambivalent effect. ?Lottery Winners? maintains the woozy carnival-after-too-much-cotton-candy effect that charmed Peel. ?Baby Boom? sounds more constricted than its earlier incarnation, making its soaring guitar motif sound slightly hollow, despite its anthemic chorus. But if the songs have lost some texture, the album also has the burnished, best-of-the-batch feel of a long-incubated debut.

Macmanus has a gift for arrangement, framing his Kinks-ish chamber melodies in layers of tinkling keyboards. His choked voice, which sounds like he might burst into tears at any moment, stays set to ?Aching Croon? for the first half of the album, like Conor Oberst singing through muslin. The band mines a seam of ecstatic, dreamy melancholia somewhere between the lusciousness of the Smashing Pumpkins? ?Tonight, Tonight? and the archness of Belle and Sebastian?s ?Get Me Away From Here, I?m Dying.?

Charming, to be sure, but the sugar high starts to wear off around halfway through. Borrowing a page from Blur?s Britpop crossover playbook, they ditch quirky effects in favor of a solid guitar riff and a ?Woo-hoo!? chorus on ?Here Comes the Suffering.? Determined to keep things bittersweet, Macmanus embeds a thorn even in the album?s most straightforward rocker, ?Girl Just Died?: ?If you wanna see my happy side / Better tell me that my girl just died.? Macmanus? voice stays congested, but he turns it into an effective half-spoken mumble, an effect that comes into its own on ?Opposite Ends.? ?Done something real bad this time / Practically signed my own death warrant,? Macmanus rants over a spooky, reproachful guitar line before slipping into a deranged, remorseful squeal: “Remember how it used to feel? feel? FEEL!”

Tragedy Rocks, as its name suggests, is dedicated to the sickly, swooning feeling of having taken something good (love? sex? alcohol?) one step too far, and the glorious agony that follows: a classic rock subject. It?s emo by way of Ray Davies, with titles to match: ?Miserabalist Tango? and, in semi-pastiche, ?Gazillions of Miniature Violins.? When the music and melodramatic sentiment becomes overwrought, it is leavened by Macmanus? wry humor: ?Girl with a smile says to guy on his knees / Have you lost your mind or were you just dropped as a child?? Macmanus sounds in perpetual dire need of a good hug or a slap to the face, or possibly both, but like the friend who won?t stop fucking up, he?s got some disastrously great stories to mumble in your ear.

Review by Andrew Iliff for Stylus Magazine, 08/02/06.

THE CRIMEA – Lottery Winners On Acid

“Lottery Winners On Acid” is the new single to be taken from The Crimea’s popular “Tragedy Rocks” LP. There is also quite an interesting story behind the creation of the track. In the words of The Crimea vocalist Davey Macmanus: “I ran off to Australia to escape the hideousness of London. I used ?1000 my granny gave me before she died to buy the ticket. I’ve never had ?1000 before. I bought a massive bag of weed when I got there and then ran off to an island where I had my own little cove. I lived on a fruit diet and sat under a huge rock writing every day, eventually, this song came along and I went home.” For all things The Crimea, visit

Review by Marijke van Niekerk for Quasimodo Bell, 27/01/06.

The Crimea – Lottery Winners On Acid (WEA)
UK release date: 9 January 2006

The Crimea - Lottery Winners On AcidI wonder what the kaleidoscope eyes of a lottery winner on acid would bare witness too. Would it be the anguished angry streets of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, or the plasticine porters with looking glass ties of the Beatles ode to tripping that was Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds?

This is the perfect prescription for those January blues. It’s a vaudeville romp through the posh boutiques of Bond Street. The riff spins like a silver Tiffany’s ring that warps into a queasy spin on a fairground waltzer. All dizzy flashes of colour and giddy whirlpools of sound. It’s like a Day-Glo soundtrack on one of those awful late period Elvis films scored by the Flaming Lips. Notes bend, warp and blend with the ether. Davey McManus’ voice straining to contain the wonder of his trip.

This is taken from a re-recording of their debut LP. Warners coughed up the cash for the band to completely re-record the whole thing. Thankfully the additional money has sharpened the pop edges without smothering the chemically altered imagination that beats at the heart of the Crimea. A sparkling musical jewel in a bleak winter.

Review by Tony Heywood for Music OMH.

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