Sheffield’s hard-grafting purveyors of incisive indie pop The Crookes have announced the release of their new album Soapbox on Monday 14 April via fierce panda records on CD, LP and digitally.
The Crookes consist of George Waite (vocals /bass), Daniel Hopewell (guitar), Tom Dakin (guitar) and Russell Bates (drums).
The Crookes Soapbox album artwork
Soapbox saw the band forego the studio-related home comforts of South Yorkshire and instead drive their gear and recording facilities to the Alpine wilds of Italy at the start of winter. If these pleasures were a wayward distraction then the band’s sense of isolation manifested itself in Soapbox, a record which is littered with put downs and push offs.
The album kick starts with recent single release, Play Dumb. Play Dumb has a brilliantly crafted chorus, “I’m under your thumb/I’m trying hard not to play dumb/But I don’t need you no more/I’m waking up dumb…” The thumping drum beat introduces the track and is bound to get you moving. Play Dumb is worthy of being a single release; its upbeat, fast tempo makes this song instantly irresistible.
Don’t Put Your Faith In Me has a slightly darker tone than the previous track. The vocals are more paramount on this track and the music more simplified. The bass riff carries this song. There’s a little bit of doo-wop style in this song. It sounds like a 1950s diner ballad.
The next track Echolalia has a 1980s sound to it. The music has a lot of 80s influences giving it that old yet modern soundscape style. The rhythm guitar is minimal whereas the bass is pushed to the forefront giving it that punch. Echolalia has layers of instrumentation which keeps this song interesting. The way Waite sings “Echolalia” is beautiful.
Before The Night Falls has influences of Pete Doherty in Babyshambles in the vocals. The Crookes’ indie sound is mixed with a doo-wop style and dramatic chorus making it the perfect indulgence. It has drama and emotion as well as a dance-able beat.
Holy Innocents is the ballad of the album. The vocals are accompanied by a simplistic yet tear-jerking piano melody and sad vocals where Waite’s voice cracks occasionally. The lyrics are beautiful and tell a narrative, “Maybe I remember every word you ever said/As day bled to night from the corner of your bed/I swear to God we were holy innocents/Your friends all bore me why can’t we be alone/I don’t want to speak to no-one else/I just want to hide like holy innocents/I met you at the fountain outside the station/Nothing else matters except dull conversation/Our whole world and holy innocents…” This song is entirely different from the rest of the songs on Soapbox and is a true representation of this band’s musical abilities and variety.
Marcy is the rockiest track on the record by far. It has punch and energy. The vocals have a distorted effect giving it that rock edge. The vocals are much less controlled than on the previous tracks, “Marcy my dear you got me strung out”. You’re bound to love this track instantly.
Soapbox, the title track of record, ends the record and what a song to go out on. Its fast tempo and high pitched, scattered guitar riffs bring energy and life to the end of the album. The guitar riffs almost sound like improvisation which gives Soapbox a unique feel.
Soapbox is a wonderful album full of lows and heartache yet the songs’ upbeat tempos and summery vibes help to give this record a pleasant feel. There’s a lot to be said for The Crookes’ sound. You’ll find something to love here.
The Crookes’ new album, Soapbox, is due out on 14 April via fierce panda records.