The Band: THE CROOKES
The Release: ‘PLAY DUMB'
The Formats: DIGITAL & VINYL 7" SINGLE
The Release Date: 3RD MARCH 2014
The Label: fierce panda records
THE CROOKES consist of George Waite (vocals / bass), Daniel Hopewell (guitar), Tom Dakin (guitar) and Russell Bates (drums). They live in Sheffield and infamously found (most of) each other, bleary of eye and dancing alone, on the indie dancefloor at the city’s Fuzz Club near the close of the previous decade. Five years, 40-odd songs and hundreds of live shows down the line The Crookes are now hardly lacking in fans, followers or worthwhile friends but 'Play Dumb' - their first single for a year and the lead-off single from their ‘Soapbox’ album, released on fierce panda on April 14th - still sees them revel in the role of loners.
“The most obvious theme that runs through the entire album is the idea of The Outsider,” frets guitarist and lyricist Daniel. “As a band that seems to suit us…never invited inside, but never wanting to be. I can empathise more with the madman standing on his soapbox, slowly gaining an audience by speaking with passion and honesty.”
Having spent last November locked away in a church on top of a mountain in Italy with only their recording gear and their thoughts for company The Crookes' complete sense of isolation manifested itself in ‘Soapbox’, a fearsomely stroppy record which is littered with put downs and push offs, none more so than on the twangy, angry 'Play Dumb', in which singer George snarls “Don’t you dare compare me to poster boys too thick to see the truth” and "I'm dirt under your thumb, not pretty enough to play dumb".
Such is modern life with the increasingly muscular musicianship of The Crookes, the rebels who have barely paused for breath since 2009 and whose manic work rate has seen the original fey, nubile NewPoppers of yore beefed up by half a decade of touring and trying to make their way in a world gone hipster mad. You may well have been hooked by The Crookes before: on the BBC 6 Music playlist, perhaps. Or maybe supporting Richard Hawley or Little Comets, or at SXSW, or on one of their many gentlemanly excursions around Europe, or in your local local on one of their numerous tours of Blighty.
You certainly couldn’t accuse The Crookes of shirking their tidy shirt-wearing duties: on September 27th 2010 they released the ‘Dreams Of Another Day’ mini-album; in the spring of 2011 came the ‘Chasing After Ghosts’ album; the spring of 2012 saw the release of the ‘Hold Fast’ album. Spring 2013 was relatively quiet – they merely released the ‘Bear’s Blood’ / 'Dance In Colour' standalone single and headlined London’s Scala. But as sure as the daffodils bloom and the cherry blossom blossoms so spring 2014 sees The Crookes deliver the ‘Soapbox’ long player, thereby become the first band to release three albums on fierce panda since the mighty Death Cab For Cutie a decade ago. You can’t fault their creativity or consistency. Unless you’re an uncaring bastard, of course. Which would make you very unlike The Crookes.
“This is definitely the bravest collection of songs we’ve ever written,” states a steely Daniel. “Musically we’ve definitely grown up (after many years of slaving away). It certainly isn’t a happy, carefree album. But again, the intention has never been to make people like us…but simply to make music that we like.”
Live dates coming sooner than even we think...