Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Best of The Crimea and The Crocketts

Joe writes: The Crocketts built a dedicated live following but there was something slightly comedic about them (not least their name, as their singer was called Davey), which I felt held them back. But they did have one wonderful song, Mrs Playing Dead. Its opening lines are almost perfect: "It's not every afternoon that you walk into a bar" (I always thought it should be "a room") "and I look at a woman and I know I'm gonna love her all of my life".

Next came The Crimea, who featured two members of The Crocketts - singer and songwriter Davey Macmanus and drummer Owen Hopkin. They were a serious band with a serious name which was partly a reaction to the comedic element I mentioned earlier. I stumbled across them by chance at In The City (a now-defunct music industry conference which gave many bands early opportunities). Their gig was shambolic but I thought songs like Baby Boom and Bombay Sapphire Coma were literate yet anthemic, with the most wonderful extended melodies, and lyrics that pinpointed the male psyche like no-one else. They became the first signing to my publishing company and the first band I worked closely with.

There was a time when every relevant Radio 1 specialist DJ was a fan of theirs, including John Peel and Zane Lowe. Then they signed to Warner Bros US and disappeared to the US to remake their album (which, in retrospect, was unnecessary). By the time they returned home, their moment at Radio 1 had passed, never to return.

After leaving Warner Bros, they made headlines around the world by giving their second album away for free online, but they didn't manage to capitalise on that moment in the spotlight, nor on a TV ad for the most commercial track on that album, Loop The Loop.

Like The Crocketts, they built a loyal fanbase without truly breaking, and I'm still hurting about that, but at least they left behind some wonderful, unique music:

There's one Crimea song you should hear that isn't on Spotify et al - Six Shoulders Six Stone, wherein Davey's girlfriend dies from anorexia. It's hard for me to be objective about The Crimea so I will you leave you to decide whether this is brilliant or uncomfortable or both. It's definitely brave:

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