Skinny and Wired

Prior to their T-on-The-Fringe gig in Edinburgh, Davey and Owen gave this interview to The Skinny magazine. Written by a guy called Finbarr Birmingham…. cool….

Christopher – another single review, 4/5 from This Is Fake DIY. Say hi to Iain everyone :o )

…. and live reviews don’t get much better than this one for the Jabez Clegg gig in Manchester. Which should be accompanied by this equally fantastic photo of Davey Mac at the same gig.

…. and if you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about – get yourself along to Carmarthen this weekend for the Macs Festival and see for yourself!

The Crimea – Blessed By The Mark Of Peel

The Crimea“We were all doing terrible jobs, I was quite literally sweeping the streets outside Radio 1″

You know that recurring dream you had as a teenager? No, not that one. The one where John Peel (last seen blasting out a ska rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone on the Archangel Gabriel’s Celtic harp) declares that your first single is “the best song he’s heard in years?” Well it’s not as equivocal as you may think. Just ask The Crimea, considering that’s precisely what transpired when Lottery Winners on Acid first earwigged its way into Mr Ravenscroft’s brain.

Lead singer Davey MacManus lets SkinnyFest in on the details. “We were all doing terrible jobs. I was quite literally sweeping the streets outside Radio 1. We gave John Peel the demo and over the next two weeks he played all 9 songs on there. It was a miracle.” Miracle is a strong word.

Since that fateful enlightening of the enlightened, The Crimea (partially constituting ex-Crocketts) have proceeded to validate Peel’s acumen by forging some of the jauntiest, most desirable tunes this side of Wayne Coyne’s pigsuit. So what galvanized their sound? “It had to be original,” affirms Davey, “the instruments are supposed to sing parts as well, each song has hidden secrets which you only discover months later. And the lyrics were an obvious point where most modern musicians have glossed over.”

And the influences? “Buffalo Springfield and Leonard Cohen, and Dusty, songs that told stories and weren’t frightened of melody.” But the songs themselves have an edge to them that lays testament to the band’s early struggles. “Someone didn’t just give us the record for Christmas; we had to beat it out of ourselves.” And SkinnyFest is glad they did. Pained debut album ‘Tragedy Rocks’, released last year, did exactly what it said on the tin. Boasting song titles such as the aforementioned Lottery Winners on Acid and Gazillions of Violins, it’s not the most orthodox collection you’ll hear, but MacManus explains, “the bizarre song titles are not us leaping to be bizarre but just the most obvious thing to call the song. It was a definite choice not to have mundane titles, but it is fine line between bizarre and wacky.” Fancy seeing first hand how close to the line the London boys are?

The Crimea play a full acoustic set at Pleasance Courtyard on August 25th. But what does it mean to the band to perform at the biggest festival in the UK? Well, quite a lot in fact. Drummer Owen Hopkin recalls bopping up with an ex-squeeze, “it’s that combination of the inspired, bonkers, brilliant and bollocks that makes it such an amazing festival. There’s so much on offer, the possibilities are mind-boggling – you’ll either have your night ruined or you’ll be buzzing with the power of it all.” Bit of a fan then Owen? “Plus, it’s one of the few places you can get plastered and feel vaguely high-brow about it.” I’ll drink to that.

The Crimea play Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh on 23rd August.

The Crimea

See also:

The Crimea @ Pleasance Courtyard, Aug 25

Article by Finbarr Bermingham for The Skinny, 26/07/06.

The Crimea - Baby BoomThe Crimea – Baby Boom

Artist: The Crimea

Rating: 4/5

The London four-piece, who once described themselves as “the sound of four Tchaikovskys banging Kylie Minogue” are back, this time with a mini-epic depicting how much they’d like to start a family. Did they have this early description in mind when writing it? Who knows…

As innocent as this pop gem may sound on first listen, Davey McManus telling his beloved how she can call him “Fred Flintstone or Tarzan, king of the jungle“, he later informs us that all he really wants to do is “get drunk and start a family“. Well yabba dabba doo.

The tune floats along nicely, like a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. It’s neither heavy enough to warrant intense lyrical scrutiny, nor light enough to toss it over your shoulder in to the increasingly large pile of pop froth this summer seems to have produced. In other words, it’s pleasant, like sitting in your back garden enjoying a cream tea and the sunset.

‘Baby Boom’ is released as a single through WEA on 21st August 2006.

The Crimea Official Site
The Crimea Myspace

Review by Wendy Davies for This Is Fake DIY, August 2006.

The Crimea – Jabez Clegg, Manchester

There is something inordinately theatrical about a live performance from The Crimea. The stage is draped in red silk, candles are strategically positioned (though someone forgets to light them) and 5 minutes before the band hit the stage, someone erects a painting at the back. The crowd themselves are seated on matching red cushioned chairs and everything is very…well…civilised.

When the enigmatic Davey Macmanus and his band stroll on stage, their welcome is little short of rapturous. In keeping with the general theme of the evening, the performance is semi-acoustic and the majority of the band are seated. That is with the notable exception of their front-man who couldn’t sit still even if he wanted to.

As opener ‘Baby Boom’ kicks in, he flashes the crowd a gap-toothed grin and gives a convincing impression of having drunk far, far-too-much coffee. The result is something between Will Young, Tom ‘Editors’ Smith and Elvis Presley. It’s extremely difficult to keep your eyes off him.

The songs suffer not at all for the stripped back format. In fact, it only emphasises the crackling emotion in Macmanus’ Americanised delivery. Previous singles ‘White Russian Galaxy’ and ‘Lottery Winners On Acid’ are delivered with gusto and are just as enthusiastically received by the now worshipful crowd. They even have a special guest in Manchester band stalwart Pete Marshall who they ‘met at V’ at the weekend.

There are very few bands who can introduce a song with the words ‘this is about a fat Japanese kid who killed everyone on his school bus’ but The Crimea are so convincing that the audience barely blinks. With only one album under their belts they throw in a couple of covers (Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Everywhere’ and John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’) but they slot in seamlessly into the slightly absurdist quality of the evening.

The only real question is whether they had enough red silk to cover a whole stadium…

Rating: 4 / 5

Article by Chris Horner for High Voltage.

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