THE CRIMEA

Single Reviews

White Russian GalaxySometime Inaudible writer Denyer has posted two Crimea single reviews on his site. Both White Russian Galaxy and Baby Boom are covered, with CD1, 2 and vinyl getting a mention. Also included are lyrics to all songs on each release, which is good because lord knows I haven’t added any lyrics here for ages. I think I’m gonna copy them to the extended part of this post, just for the practice, I’ve not added any of those for ages either.

Some girl from the Crimea (the actual place, not the band) has posted something about the band on Last.fm. Roughly translated it says “There’s a band in England called The Crimea (i.e. my NATIVE LAND :) ) Besides the name the group has good music! I recommend! And they have a good website too…” I’ll leave it at that because said website mentioned is not mine. How dare they :P . Head’s up, there’s another Crimea native on the official board… blimey. Crimea, big in Crimea.



12-Apr-2006 » My review: The Crimea – White Russian Galaxy (2006)

White Russian Galaxy CD1White Russian Galaxy CD2As with previous single Lottery Winners On Acid, I should point out there was a small press single by the name White Russian Galaxy released previously, back in 2003. Making this the third version of WRG to surface, fourth if you count the original Klutzville recording as a different version to the one on the old mail-order album…

Because this is a different version to those on the albums — if you remember my review of that, you may recall a few pointed comments about it getting more poppy… well, this latest version (and the one the band played on Top Of The Tops on Sunday) is, funnily enough considering the TOTP thing, a bit more rock. Woo-ha.

It takes another listen or two to acclimatise, but this is probably the best mix/recording of the song to date… and will be replacing the album version on the CD I’m going to burn in a minute… meaning that — all told — the US album, Out of Africa non-album track and b-sides from the two UK singles on Warner fit nice and snugly on an 80-minute CD.

Backing CD1 is a sublime cover of Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now ED: I’m reliably informed that Tommy James And The Shondells are the original artists. — understated, lazy guitar line, original spoken-word verse over the cello solo towards the end… I’ve been humming this since I got it on Monday. This is what all cover versions should be — adding something to the song rather than churning out a carbon copy. Lovely.

Russian Roulette took a few listens to like… there’s nothing immediately grabbing your attention except the chorus, and not in the best way. Persevere and it pretty quickly snaps together, lyrics and different vocal style — according to the handy crib-sheet sent out on the band mailing list it’s Joe on singing duties.

Third track on disc two is a live version of Opposite Ends with lyric montage introduction by Regina Spektor, from the St. Louis performance last July… your mileage may vary if you’re reading this way in the future, but there’s a stream of the whole show here if you want to try it. Again, I find myself liking this version more than the album recording…

Here comes the rant. Vinyl-only tracks: how many people in this day and age own record players? It’s mitigated to some extent by The Ballad Of Seichi Taniguchi also being available on iTunes and various other digital download services… though they’re rants in themselves. I went for iTunes, only to get the track burnt to CD and ripped back and discover the 128kbps AAC encoding had stripped all of the frequencies above 16Khz. The copy Chris bought from Napster (yes, they’re a legit music download service these days) was somewhat better, evidencing periodic samples in the 18Khz range — none of which is the point. Download services market as an alternative to CDs. It’s therefore up to them to see that the encodings offered aren’t shit. Needless to say, iTunes will only be getting my business if material is unavailable elsewhere — and I’ll continue to take umbrage at vinyl releases. CDs? You know, those things people complain they aren’t selling as many of any more? Well, you actually have to release the material on CD for us to buy it. This is not rocket science. People like hard copies they can play — and the main market for singles is teenagers, who are less likely to have access to turntables.

It was actually worth the hassle. I’ve probably managed to mishear several of the lyrics (I had “Hiroshima” down as “Russia” — before remembering I’d seen somewhere it was about a Japanese teenager who snaps and guts his tormentors) but the horn section and guitar solo are fab. From gig reviews I’ve seen it’s become rather a live favourite…

Like LWOA, the second CD also contains a video for the titular track. This one’s a bit less weird than the Lottery one, being an MTV-friendly montage of roadtripping, quick cuts, people playing on the roof of vehicles, and so on. Hopefully it’ll work as intended… it’s about time kids got brainwashed by some music that’s not from generic identikit bands.

If you only get one format, make it CD1 — that I Think We’re Alone Now cover is cracking.

Review by Denyer from VirtualDebris.co.uk.



29-Aug-2006 » My review: The Crimea – Baby Boom (2006)

Baby Boom CD1Baby Boom CD2Three for three. In 2003, The Crimea released Lottery Winners On Acid, White Russian Galaxy and Baby Boom in quick succession. In 2006, The Crimea released Lottery Winners On Acid, White Russian Galaxy and Baby Boom in quick succession. I dunno, I’d have picked Girl Just Died as a third single, but no-one can accuse the band of not being consistent… but review first, ranting later… and the ranting’s not about the choice of single. Nice art on this set of releases, too.

First up is Baby Boom, showcasing one of the most haunting guitar notes I’ve heard. I’m still fond of the lo-fi demo from years back, but this studio album version is A Good Thing. (In contrast to the 2006 single of White Russian Galaxy, which was noticeably better than the album version.) From the double meaning of “getting slaughtered” to the remorseful storyline about the male of the species thinking with its collective penis, it’s a really good song. Perhaps a little similiar in sound to WRG, but a solid favourite.

Everywhere is a Fleetwood Mac cover, light and breezy retro that emphasises just how different The Crimea are from The Crocketts. I like this habit of putting covers as the b-side on CD1 of singles… it joins You’ve Been A Long Time Coming and I Think We’re Alone Now in being a worthy rendition, one that adds a lot to the original rather than just copy it. Two thumbs up.

Baby Boom CD1
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New track Hospital holds the same position as Six Shoulders, Six Stone and Isobel in my affections… there are things I like about it; it also sets me a bit on edge in ways Sideways or The Great Beyond don’t. To be fair, this is probably the intention. Grasping around for a way to describe that… it’s akin to the difference between being a perkygoff and having a full-on Anne Rice fixation. I’d be of the first persuasion if I had any patience for dressing up.

Stop Count To Ten sees other band members get in on the words and singing, though I’m afraid I don’t know them by voice… much different from its sister b-side, SCTT benefits from a volume boost to bring out the jauntiness and vocals.

Sideways is much more traditional Crimea fare, the instruments a little like early backing tracks such as La Sinoco and the first version of Girl Just Died — the lyrics are much like various other songs, and if you like them in those you’ll like them in this. It’s certainly wormed a way into my head.

If you’ve got the album, I’d suggest picking up CD1 or downloading Everywhere (if the latter, grab Sideways and the otherwise vinyl-only Ballad of Seichi Taniguchi from WRG while you’re at it.) CD2 is a bit more of an equivocal recommendation.

Video of the title track is available for stream ripping (~12mb) from Contact Music and is a standard black-and-white, band-playing mood piece that gives people something to dial in and request on music television.

The rant? That goes to Warner Bros, who held Baby Boom back from being a download on iTunes and most other services until the 28th, scuppering any chance of chart success. 7digital, the place I settled on getting the tracks from in the end, did have CD2 (and CD2 only) up for grabs on the 23rd, two days after the discs came out, but it seems to have been the solitary place that did. Anyway, the 192kbps WMA files aren’t bad quality, and can be burnt to CD for ripping back to versatile MP3.

Review by Denyer from VirtualDebris.co.uk.

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3 Responses to “Single Reviews”

  1. Denyer says:

    “Some guy from the Crimea” is female, BTW.

    I’m reliably informed that Tommy James And The Shondells are the original artists.

    Oo… will have to see if I can find a copy of that…

  2. Christopher says:

    >> “Some guy from the Crimea” is female, BTW.

    And embarisingly, I knew this… :oops:

    >> I’m reliably informed that Tommy James…

    Got that from a guy on codingforums who was helping me get those damn images aligned properly. I’m still trying to get em right (see last BB image…) Actully, does that last one look good to you? It’s all squashed up for me, but IE shows it ok, and the condingforums guy says it looks good in his FF :?

  3. Denyer says:

    Yeah, the image is borked in the copy of FF 2 I’m running… it’s okay in Opera 9. Try doing it with a DIV rather than a SPAN — usual markup is SPAN for inline text, and DIV for blocks.

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