Tragedy rocks opens with a short piano solo which on a first listen throws you off guard for the way the rest of the album is shaped, But serves as a starter to the a succulent main course of curious intelligent lyrics, rousing melodies and riffs and equally complimenting piano and drums.
Sound comparisons with a modern day kinks or more recently Longview are easily heard. Although comparing this band to anyone in particular is unfair as the depth The Crimea show in this there debut is not really equaled by anything in the indie/rock genre at the moment.
Vocally Macmanus shows his wide ranging voice with suitably differing vocals on different tracks to match the arrangement musically as well as the varied topic of the song, this changes from the melodic 'Bad Vibrations' to the morose 'Opposite ends' with his twinge of Mick Jagger and poetic prowess of Morrissey an enchanting mix.
The group have definitely suffered for there art, especially Macmanus who almost transformed into a Travis Bickle style character, whilst working a string of dead end jobs which has obviously fuelled his sometimes visceral lyrics. For example the opening track 'White Russian Galaxy' is a social comment on the way Macmanus often found 12 year old girls drunk in the London parks he was working – and so the underpinning evils of alcohol.
It's not a surprise to find that both singer and drummer are writers, Macmanus a published writer of stories and poems and drummer Hopkins a freelance journalist for the likes of NME and KERRANG, which has transposed neatly into the lyrics on this record. With the likes of the stunning 'Opposite ends' - Which draws you in with a haunting and hypnotizing guitar riff and dark lyrics.
'Takes one black cloud to spoil a bright day, I was the black cloud she was the bright day'
The 'Miserabilist Tango' personifies the down beat melancholy that Macmanus can lyrically detail. Talking about a lovers drop in Dublin, where lovers would end there lives as they couldn't be together.
'Might as well give up, the future would look better from above'
But his lyrics don't get you down as you might think, with their unique blend of whirling strings and soothing beats repress any thoughts of sadness in a cathartic process of musical therapy.
Although this is there debut they have been around for a while. Notable plugs from the late great John peel. Who said that 'Lottery winners on acid' was 'The best song I've heard in years'. As well as 'Baby Boom' reaching number 8 in his 2003 festive 50. As well as appearances at 'South by South west' and across the states have accumulated into an imminent springboard into the limelight for the group.
This album is full of substance and there isn't a weak song, this is complimented with the perfectly tailored flow of tracks, as well as its head nodding beats and sing along hooks - even on a first listen! Are a strong sign of longevity for this record and the band. So being so full of musical nutrients you will be left more than full, but will still have you going back for seconds and thirds.
The best debut album I have heard.
Adam Adshead 2005