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Last Updated: 08/11/2006 15:00:15
CrackTown - There Must And Shall Be Midgets (an appraisal) (1/2)
By Michelle Dee
(1/2), (2/2).

A consumer of CrackTown am I, with songs irrepressible and wry. You would be mistaken, for the thought they'd forsaken, here's the second album we cry.

Music to bring you out of your gloom, an antidote by the shovel not a spoon. They might well be misfits, there must and shall be midgets, hark the piper, calls a different tune.

When CrackTown recorded their first album Songs in the key of Fuck off they left the window open.
The album rapidly reached cult status, leading to a bizarre knighthood bestowed on the two players by the mysterious Princess of the Fountain, for services to mediocrity. This time the anarchic pair kept the window shut.

Silver Fox and King Rat teamed up with prolific acoustician (he's made two albums already this year that's prolific enough for my book) Sam Jones at Happily Amateurish Studios who mixed, mastered and produced the ten track disc.
CrackTown came to my attention in 2003 and immediately stole my heart with their satire and needle sharp wit. The inspired partnership of harmonica, guitar and caustic verse shocked me, then thrilled and ultimately fed me.

The unique two-piece act received well deserved accolades wherever they played adding some, highly respected friends to their Christmas card list.
Critically acclaimed artists such as Kimya Dawson, Jeffrey Lewis, MJ Hibbett, Attilla the Stockbroker, Ed Tudor Pole, Wreckless Eric, The Lurkers, Adam Hector Collector and Curtis Eller to name but nine have all had the unbridled and unrivalled pleasure of sharing the same stage as the folk bluesmen.
Single handed the two stalwarts, kept the acoustic night at The George pub afloat. Entertaining the lost, the waifs, strays and vagabonds that found themselves on The Land of Green Ginger after dark. Beside the crackle and warmth of real log fires, they nurtured new acoustic talents bringing, Shep and Natalie Roe (now CrackTown's spiritual sister) to the attention of the wider world. They shocked and appalled the young and old at the Sesh with non- p.c. lyrics and parlour games. Triumphed over scurrilous rumours of anti-Semitism from higher education establishments; an absolute farce. The simple truth being that CrackTown hold no truck with singling out groups for a mordant tongue lashing, they abuse every group in fair and equal measure.
Those that don't get it, should go home, read a book or two, remove heads out of backsides and breathe in the stench of the scandalous sham called society.
So, to the new offering, yours for the taking, after handing over the measly sum of six English pounds. The cover, designed by Joby, features a star line up of the vertically challenged, from stage and screen. Inside the sleeve, a brief glimpse into the surreal world that occupies CrackTown complete with acknowledgements to contributors and fans alike.

Opening with Mr Three Piece, they uncover the truth behind the faceless shysters screwing you for your last penny, those corporate criminals that line their pockets with the company profits. Next comes My heroes have always been t-shirts a fairly old number with the chorus that goes Hocus Pocus lets get focused.
An up-tempo number that has been doing the rounds for many months, but has now been immortalised in digital perfection or something close to that milestone.

Continued .... Next Page (2/2)

Album Reviews - Last Gang - Beat of Blue (48 Crash Records - Limited edition 7" vinyl and download) - Reviewed By Nick Quantrill Release Date : 30th October 06
If you like your guitar-pop with a bit of kick and bite, then you could do a lot worse than to check out one of Yorkshire's best kept secrets. It's taken a while for this debut release to materialize, but the slow and steady approach looks set to pay dividends, especially now that influential figures in the music industry such as Steve Lamacq are beginning to Read more...

Album Reviews - Delta (A.KA.) Naomi and Grainger E.P. By Michelle Dee
I received this EP early summer just as the days were getting hotter. I played it through and wrote some notes on the back of an envelope and then what happens, I put the envelope down in a pile and promptly lose it. It turns up, well half of it some weeks later and I spend the next few days staring at half of the words trying to remember what else was there. Read more...

Album Reviews - Screaming Tarts Volume 3 (20-track compilation album) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Already it's the third album in the series, and Screaming Tarts: Volume 3 is both sounding better and looking sleeker than ever. Once again the creator and webmaster of the hugely popular www.screamingtarts.com music e-zine (that long-haired, good-looking fellow called Mr Martyn from Driffield, East Yorkshire) Read more...

Album Reviews - Mogwai - Mr Beast (PIAS)
Reviewed By Steve Rudd
While this ten-track affair might not be as exhilarating as Mogwai's 'Come On Die Young' masterpiece of an album, this new long-player - which is the band's fifth - is still an epic and emotional joy to behold. With a running time of almost three quarters of an hour, their Auto Rock tune kicks affairs off, being a subtly enthralling piano melody, before Read more...

Single Reviews - Ricky We Are England (Beatcrazy Records) By Nick Quantrill
This unofficial World Cup 2006 track was going to be the record that propelled Ricky into the big time, and kick-started a career for the band that already had promised much. Add in that the band clocked up in excess of 25,000 miles traveling the length and breadth of the country recording over 50,000 school children chanting the popular Easy Read more...

Album Reviews - How Long Have You Got? By Andy Stocks Reviewed by DJ Chris Plant
I sat down today and listened to Andy Stocks new album How Long Have You Got? Andy is a Hull born artist who writes his own material along with close friend Matthew Davidson. The music is special and the lyrics have a lot of meaning. None of this crap we are hearing in the charts (i.e. Who do you think you are kidding Jurgen Klinsmann) sung by 1966 legend Geoff Hurst. Read more...

Album Reviews - They Died Too Young - D.N.A Neglects Demo By Nick Cobley Pictures by Michelle Dee
Upon starting the D.N.A Neglects demo CD the first thing I noticed was the production quality which sounds excellent. With prices of recording being really high as always, it made me think they must have spent a lot of time and effort on this. The first track is Hanger Lane it starts with clean guitars, and I think I can even hear an acoustic in the build up Read more...

Album Reviews - Propaganda 625 by Phluid Skudakoi Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Following on from this Leed's quintet's previous album releases, Cynical Smile and Release, this EP is really more of a mini-album in that it's exhilaratingly comprised of three new studio tracks, three live tracks, one specially-recorded acoustic track, plus a secret bonus track that might surprise a lot of ardent fans - even if it's not a Phluid Read more...

Album Reviews - Chapter XIII - Dream Salvation (Level Sound) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
The debut single from this here Bristol quintet in the undeniably cool cut The Last Time understandably caught the attention of both aficionados of great music and A&R men in high places. Well, in theory such a single should have done, as should this full-length release that stunningly bears testament to just what this band is trying to achieve. Fronted by Gareth Marshall Read more...

Album Reviews - Lights By Brigade (Mighty Atom) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Right from the swirling, tension-mounting intro of single-release Magneto, that proceeds to explode into a euphoric Emo-edged rock tune, through to the mighty closing track of this 11-song-strong album, there is one anthem after another after another after another - and not one of them is dull. Meet Me At My Funeral stampedes, Assemble/ Dissemble is a huge, Read more...

Album Reviews - The Voltaires - Anti-Love EP (This Is Art) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Leeds lads The Voltaires sure know how to turn heads with their inspirational brand of indie-fuelled rock 'n' roll, with the three tunes that comprise this EP all being quirky, catchy and supremely cool in due course, right from the title track itself, Anti-Love, anchored by a rollicking riff, stand-out vocals and a classy chorus. Fronted by Gareth Williams Read more...

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The Leano is a one-man rapping machine with a social conscience and a hugely original approach to music-making. He might hail from London, but he wrote and produced this stunning thirteen-track debut album up in Hull of all places. The city is even immortalised in the acoustic guitar-accompanied Ganjaholic, a tongue-in-cheek ditty which wryly Read more...

Single Reviews - D'Ya Feel Lucky? by The Fondas (Levelsound Records) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Swiped from their Dirty Kicks album, this storming anthem is one of the finest cuts from such a long-player, brimming with explosive energy, and locked and loaded with guitars naturally cranked to the max, resulting in a battering wall of sound off which the singer's voice-to-die-for valiantly bounces. D'ya Feel Lucky? is both inescapable Read more...

Single Reviews - Sunday International - So Calm (Future Butterfly) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Should you be bored with the latest wave of rock 'n' roll bands that are currently dominating the airwaves, make a beeline for this hugely exciting band before the masses catch wind of them - for Sunday International sure can write some storming tunes. Their So Calm rock anthem, for starters, is a gloriously energetic tune that is fearlessly fuzzy, explosive and Read more...

Album Reviews - Waiting For Tomorrow by Soular Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Hailing from New Mexico, this top US band has been strutting its highly original stealth since 2002, with this release building on the reputation that their 2004 Time And Space record nurtured. Having opened gigs for the likes of Liz Phair and Longwave, they are already a pretty well known and hugely respected outfit, and now it's time for the good people of the UK to Read more...

Album Reviews - Under Attack by The Alarm (EMI) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
As with every song on every past Alarm album, every single one is a trail-blazing anthem. Welshman Mike Peters is, always has been, and always will be the voice of The Alarm. And what a soul-powered voice he has got, as opening tune Superchannel takes up where the previous Alarm long-player - In The Poppyfields - left off. Here we Read more...

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