The Crookes - Hold Fast

A homogenous and varied album.

Label: Fierce Panda

Rating: 7

Fresh-faced Sheffield lads The Crookes are releasing their second album ‘Hold Fast’ through Fierce Panda this July. Even though their debut ‘Chasing After Ghosts’ received plenty of favourable reviews, excited numerous devoted fans and was described as ‘this good, the band are unlikely to remain obscure for long,’ their break-through didn’t, in fact, happen. Maybe because of a certain guitar ennui in the UK, maybe because the album was a little premature.

However, follow-up ‘Hold Fast’ aims to change all that. Kicking off with the energetic and utterly vivacious ‘Afterglow’ the band shows that they haven’t lost their youthful exuberance, which is exemplified by the thundering drum power and accelerated chords. The song could become a bona-fide dancefloor hit in the vein of Arctic Monkeys or similar rock-pop wonders, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and tremendously danceable.

Their aesthetic of smart pop for a discerning crowd continues with ‘Stars’ – a song that best showcases singer George Waite’s warm and distinct voice. It’s a heartfelt tale enhanced by Beatles-esque instrumentation. Mid-way through the album, pop paean ‘American Girls’ is a slow starter but picks up pace soon enough to morph into a marching The Jam-like stomper. However, it’s slightly repetitive at some points. Follower ‘The Cooler King’ doo-wops its way around a cheerful shanty landscape but the song could sharpen its interaction between rhythm section and vocals. Lead track ‘Hold Fast’ is another highlight presenting the listener with a sped-up, blissed-out indie hymn that adulates The Crookes’ self-styled image as “four teddy boys in Battersea”.

Finally, The Crookes have managed to create a homogenous and varied album that might have fit better into the 60s but is nonetheless utterly listenable with its characteristically retro feel, abundance of jangly guitars and soaring vocals. Framed by vibrant harmonies and perfect pop, The Crookes definitely deserve their break-through this time around.