Saturday, 16 April 2011

LIVE REVIEW - The Crookes at FRUIT, Hull


The Crookes - Alex  Saunders, Daniel Hopewell, George Waite, Russell Bates


Hull three-piece Jesus Christ kick off the evening with a voodoo-punk, blues growl. Beefheart caked in Humber mud – a recipe more Ray Mears than Heston Blumenthal. Awkward, distorted and angular - and that's a good thing.
But tonight was all about The Crookes and they nailed it.  
Sometimes you hear a band who fuse the music you love and make something that feels close to new. Sometimes it’s just that the time is right to revisit the best of a shimmering era in pop’s past. In the case of The Crookes – Daniel Hopewell (guitar/lyricist), Alex Saunders (guitar), Russell Bates (drums) and George Waite (bass/vocals) the mix is a kind of lyrical 80s indie-pop with echoes of 1950s/early 60s rock n’ roll.
Fleetingly Hawleyesque in the slower songs (they are from Sheffield, after all) the jangle quotient is up as the band race through a bright set mainly taken from their recently released debut album Chasing After Ghosts. This is great guitar pop with spirit and verve, semi-acoustics and nifty dance moves, skinny jeans, good shirts and floppy fringes.
The Crookes evoke youth, romance and heartbreak with the kind of literate affinity early day Smiths songs once did. Steve Lamacq has called them, “…kings of romance...” I’d go along with that as long as it’s a kind of holding hands, cheap wine drinking kind of romance. Songs like Chorus of Fools, Just Like Dreamers and Bright Young Things share a sense of that early 1960s Rita Tushingham, Tom Courtenay and Albert Finney kitchen sink aesthetic – the band walk on to a clip from Saturday Night, Sunday Morning.
It's a sound that suits this city. “Don’t the let bastards grind yer down…” eh lads? It doesn’t look like it. Great gig. ****

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