Band of the Week: Sheffield, England’s The Crookes
With a band name like The Crookes, it’s understandable to conjure up the image of a band of scruffy, rebel-rousing, hard-drinking young hoodlums stirring up mischief and banging out angst-driven punk rock songs. But instead, this Sheffield-based band delivers retro pop rock blended with elements of the C86 sound of the post punk era.
The Crookes first caught our attention some time ago with their second single, “Chorus of Fools,” a jingle-jangle tune with an infectious beat and rhythm, topped with just a touch of indie folk pop, and sprinkled with lyrics born out of English kitchen-sink literature. The band’s overall sound is decidedly The Smiths, Orange Juice, Coral, The Arctic Monkeys, and early Libertines. With the continuous flood of new wave synth acts seemingly coming far and wide, The Crookes offer a refreshing escape into the realm of bliss pop.
This summer, the band released their sophomore LP, Hold Fast, which demonstrates their love for mixing elements of alternative rock, post punk and heavily melodic indie pop/post punk as demonstrated on songs like “Where Did Our Love Go?,” and “Maybe in the Dark.”
In addition to a string of well-received singles, The Crookes raised their profile in the U.K. and Europe over the past couple of years by endlessly touring, hitting all the major U.K. and European cities with enthusiastic crowds to greet them. But they have yet to break-through in the U.S. Perhaps one song from the LP that aims to change that is the catchy track, “American Girls,” although it’s not among the top three standout songs on Hold Fast (listen to the entire album via Spotify).
For fans of jangly guitars, soaring vocals and light pop tracks with tinges of alternative rock, British style, the album is an enjoyable listening experience. The title track, “Hold Fast” and “Afterglow” (watch video above) are some of the more energetic, toe-tappers on the album, featuring high octane synths riffs and ‘ooh ooh’ sing along choruses. More tamed and deep, the spectacular track, “Sal Paradise,” shows off the band’s penchant for retro pop rock.
The Crookes’ Debut EP and LP Set the Stage for Their Popularity in the U.K. and Europe
The single “Chorus of Fools,” was released as a single from the band’s October 2010 release, Dreams of Another Day, an EP that raised the band’s profile in Europe and the UK, and started the momentum that snowballed in 2011 after The Crookes were featured as a Band of the Day in the The Guardian. On BBC Radio 1, popular deejay Steve Lamacq, who proclaimed in 2011 that The Crookes were his ‘favourite British band of the year,” described the band as having “ambition and flare and a singer with a beautiful voice; one of those special, poetic voices which dips and soars above their jangling guitars.”
The band’s 2009 debut double single , A Collier’s Wife/By The Seine, released through the Too Pure Singles Club (part of the Beggars’ Group label), was the fastest selling single ever for Too Pure, with all pre-orders selling out in a matter of days. But together with their 2010 debut EP, Dream of Another Day and especially their debut album, Chasing After Ghosts, released in March of 2011, that really got the ball rolling.
In the spirit of the season, here is a rare 2009 Christmas single, “It’s Just Not Christmas Without You,” from the band, which was not part of an official release. The song comes courtesy of ‘the Rolling Stone magazine of the U.K.,’ New Musical Express (commonly referred to as NME), which was one of the publications that initially helped launch the band into the spotlight on the U.K. indie music scene.
“It’s Just Not Christmas Without You” – The Crookes (2009)