Album of the Week: The Crookes – Dreams of Another Day

Released October 2010

This week I secured tickets to see Sheffield band The Crookes at the city’s Outlines Festival in March. It will be my 11th time seeing the band, in an act that is beginning to go beyond fandom and into something more sinister and odd. I have seen The Crookes more in the last three years than I have seen most of my extended family members…

To ensure maximum excitement I have revisited the bands extensive discography this week, starting with their first release Dreams of Another Day. At a skinny 8 tracks, the record is more of an EP than a full album but ‘EP of the Week’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it so ‘album’ it is.

The record kicks off with one of The Crookes most beloved and well known tracks ‘Backstreet Lovers’. If you are looking for a starting point for the band than look no further, ‘Backstreet Lovers’ offers a good idea of what The Crookes are about, both musically and lyrically. They may have grown as musicians over time but the fact that their first song from their first record is still a live staple is an indicator of the songs quality.

‘Somewhere Over The Bus Stop’ is one of the great forgotten Crookes songs. A wistful, tuneful and beautiful ballad that sees singer George Waite crooning over the top of a lovely strummed melody. The records other famous song, ‘Yes, Yes, We’re Magicians’ still sounds as unique and enchanting as it did 7 years ago and the song truly takes on a life of it’s own when witnessed live. ‘A Collier’s Wife’ sounds like it was recorded in someone’s garden shed but that only adds to the overall charm of the record. Listening back to it now it is astounding that the band showed enough restraint to leave some of these songs off their first album proper, Chasing After Ghosts.

‘Two Drifters’ is a nice change of pace after the frantic ‘A Collier’s Wife’ and ‘More Blitz Than Ritz’ stands as an oddity as The Crookes longest recorded song and also one of their most timeless. Penultimate track ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ shows  off Waite’s vocal dexterity as well as featuring some of the bands most accomplished vocal harmonies. Capping things off is the throwaway ‘Mrs Porter’, presumably the same Mrs Porter mentioned in the lyrics of ‘Magicians’ earlier in the album. ‘Mrs Porter’ runs at just over a minute but it portrays a more playful side of the band that becomes much more apparent when seeing them live.

Dreams of Another Day was released 7 years ago, with little fanfare, but it resulted in one of my longest and most beloved musical love affairs. Roll on 3rd March!

For more on my Crookes obsession read here, here, here, or here.

Track of the Week: Car Seat Headrest – Drugs With Friends

Or to use the tracks full name ‘(Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs With Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem)’. Don’t be put off by the quasi pretentious title (it’s probably ironic) and instead just enjoy this hilarious 5 minute plus romp about a kids negative experience on mushrooms and acid. Unfortunately for the Joe of the title he ‘did not transcend’ and instead ‘felt like a walking piece of shit’. It is refreshing to hear a band talk about drugs without bullshit bravado or po faced sadness.

I will admit that Car Seat Headrest are new to me but 2016’s Teens of Denial is an eclectic, brilliant album that veers from Pearl Jam inspired rockers one minute to introspective acoustic numbers the next, all dripping with intelligence and humour. Teens of Denial is Car Seat Headrest’s 10th album. Looks like I have some homework to do.

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