SOTWH Reviews

Regular Crimea reviewer Jim Carroll gives the album 4 / 5 on, the Manchester Evening News give it 3 / 5 but with little bad to say about it, and ICWales say some good but don’t give a rating.

Other than that, Noise Pollution and Whats On Winnipeg give the release story a mention, Monofiopia get a little nostalgic over the MacManus effect.

THE CRIMEA Secrets of the Witching Hour Free Two One

4 / 5

As publicity-grabbing measures go, giving away your album for free, as The Crimea have just done, is a winner. But a free album doesn’t mean a dip in quality. Secrets of the Witching Hour is one of the most majestic and dramatic albums you’ll encounter this year. While the band’s Tragedy Rocks debut had similar ambitions, it didn’t house this amount of truly killer songs, which are perfectly shaped by Dave Allen’s (Cure, Psychedelic Furs) sympathetic production. From the Springsteen- like profile of a character “currently residing in the where-are-they-now files” which singer Davy McManus builds on Raining Planets to how Regina Spektor’s spoken-word intros on All Conquering and Light Brigade gives way to the ragged splendour of McManus’s voice and his observations, this is an album with a hefty share of striking hooks and choruses.

Download tracks: Raining Planets. The 48a Waiting Steps

Review by Jim Carroll for, May 2007.

The Crimea – Secrets Of The Witching Hour (Free Two One)

3 / 4

THE big story here is not so much the music but the method of delivery. For London indie guys The Crimea are giving away this album as a free download, though the Luddites among us can still go and buy it as a CD should we choose.

The band’s spirited response to being dropped by Warner Bros was to carry on making music, then put it in as many people’s hands – or hard drives – as possible, calculating that this would expand their fanbase and allow them to make their money from touring, merchandising and ads on their download page.

As a free gift, the album’s definitely good value. It is blithe pop with a vein of English wistfulness and sorrow, a Bowie-esque grandeur and some impressive lush electronic soundscapes.

So, a lovely woozy piece of work, but whether it is a sea change of music business economics, only time will tell.

Released on May 21.

Download the LP here .

Review by Paul Taylor for Manchester Evening News, 18th May 2007.

The Crimea, Secrets Of The Witching Hour

IN a time of plummeting record sales, escalating internet piracy, and file sharing, The Crimea have made a radical decision to give this, their second album, away as a free download to anyone who cares to listen.

It’s still possible to buy a physical copy from the shops but it’s a bold move intended to boost their live audience and global profile.

The former Aberystwyth students do, however, back up such a publicity-reaping move with a fine album that balances poetic lyrics with some rousing and substantial indie rock.

Standout Tracks Don’t Close Your Eyes On Me, Requiem Aeternum

Article by Christopher Rees for the Western Mail, 18th May 2007.

Industry alarmed by ‘Crimea wave’

It’s been all over the web that cult-band The Crimea are releasing their “Secrets Of The Witching Hour’” album totally free on the web here. Not quite sure why this is such a big story though, considering thousands of artists give away music for free, millions of people rip songs online and people are exchanging music left, right, and centre on a daily basis.

The story reflects larger concerns about the future of media: will everything be totally free, not just illegally, but legally? And if so, who is going to pay for it?

The Smashing Pumpkins did exactly the same thing when they released Machina II/The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music online, for free, in September 2000 against the wishes of their label Virgin Records. Almost seven years on however, the success of artists such as the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen, heavily attributed to online exposure, and the fact that less and less people actually are willing to spend money on any kind of media and rely solely on peer-to-peer downloads, has made the industry take notice.

SOTWH Tour FlyerThe band were dropped by Warner Music, despite making the UK top 40 with “Lottery Winners on Acid”, selling 35,000 copies of their debut “Tragedy Rocks” (above) album in 2005, and supporting the likes of Snow Patrol, Ash, The Kings of Leon, Billy Corgan, Keane and The Get Up Kids. With this solid foundation, the band chose to self-fund the album and give it out for free, hoping that touring, merchandise and pure publicity will compensate.

Well, the stunt worked for this sad blogger, and even though The Crimea are not really my cup of tea, here’s a plug guys, just for sheer viral publicity efforts. If you are a fan of the likes of Snow Patrol, Coldplay and Keane, and enjoy the quirkiness of artists like Badly Drawn Boy, you might just like them…

Check out their White Russian Galaxy video.

And if you want the “brick and mortar” album, it’s out in record stores on May 13th.

Incidentally, the Smashing Pumpkins are releasing a new “Zeitgeist” album in July! Oh the excitement!

Article by Fabsabs for Noise Pollution, 3rd May 2007.

Bands use free music to lure fans to concerts

GIVE it away, give it away, give it away now.

It’s a strategy that more and more musicians are turning to, as they try to skirt the struggling music industry and try to make their case directly with their fans. The British rockers The Crimea, who released their last album on Warner Bros., have made their new album, Secrets of the Witching Hour, available for free download on their website,

The plan is to use the free music to get more fans to concerts, which is far more lucrative to bands than the small percentages they get from album sales.

Article from Whats On Winnipeg, May 2007.

Secrets of the Witching Hour

Earlier this month, The Crimea released their new album on thier website, completely free of charge. It’s actually a really good album and kinda makes me despair that record companies are unable to hold onto any band with Davey MacManus in…

My favourite track is probably Weird – I was going to say because it reminded me of The Crocketts days, but in retrospect you can see that in the whole album.

According to the counter on the site (which probably tracks page views rather than downloads), the album has currently had over 34 000 downloads. Again, that feeling of despair… There is a £10 cd version as well, for those who like their music to be tangible (and give them money).

They’re playing the Leadmill on June 8th. I think I should be there.

Get the album, it’s awesome (and free).

The Crimea – Secrets of the Witching Hour (Full album download) –

Article from Monofiopia, 18th May 2007.

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