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2005-04-07Attention, Polish learners and prospective Crimea fans!

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http://www.screenagers.pl/index.php?service=interviews&action=show&id=13

Don't worry, there's an English translation if you scroll down. Particularly useful for those of us who are trying to learn a bit of Polish for the TEFL scheme run by APASS though. (I'll have a phrase sheet for that up soon, honest, and you too will be able to practise saying phrases such as na zdrowie! [your health!] and nie rozumiem [I don't understand] until the bison come home.)

This is also as good a place as any to give you a round-up of what The Crimea have been doing for the past few months, who the band are if you didn't already know, and so on and so forth.

The Crimea have been described as drawing inspiration from Dusty Springfield, Leonard Cohen, The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and The Pixies. Only having really listened to two of the artists/groups on that list, I'd say that the Flaming Lips and Pixies comparisons are warranted in the best sense possible. The Crimea write about life and its joys and tribulations in a homely but oddball manner, and aren't afraid to lend an enthusiastically raw guitar edge to proceedings.

I'm a very lyrics-oriented person, so the thing that draws me most to The Crimea is Davey's sense of poetry. Lines like we walk through the streets like lottery winners on acid and juxtapositions such as seven different Santas in seven different shops at the same time... all scared that the real one will arrive... seven different gods in seven different churches at the same old time... all scared that the real one will arrive... are precisely the sort of thing I go nuts for.

This natural sense of rhythm and flair for striking imagery has been carried through under the guise of The Crocketts, Gorgeous Fame, Klutzville and more band names over the years. I don't mean to dismiss any of the other members of any of those bands, I just usually find my attention grabbed by singer-songwriters. I'm well aware that a finely-honed team with skills bordering on telepathy helps immeasurably when putting together a good show or recording.

The Crimea have been growing this steadily over the last two or three years. Listening to the first bedroom demos and early singles recordings, there have been a lot of advances in production quality and small but satisfying enhancements made to songs when played live. I've been enjoying bands working with shoestring-budget production for years and still love the original material, but I can see how a new potential fan would find the improved package more 'accessible'. A term I loathe, because it seems to reward homogeneity of music... but don't worry because—eased in by the tighter production—listeners will discover the freshness of both lyrics and sound.

Now comes the tricky part... releases. In the UK, we've seen three singles and a mail-order album. In the US, there has been one 'import' EP of early recordings and will be an album released around summer. That's not much distribution yet, and the titles of the American releases (Lottery Winners On Acid and Tragedy Rocks) are the same as UK releases but with different tracks and/or different recordings. At this stage it seems likely the UK will get the US album as a mass-market release.

Which is where the Screenagers interview comes in. Davey lets us in on why some tracks from the mail-order album (such as Bombay Sapphire Coma and Out Of Africa, two favourites of mine) have been shelved for the first US album: the band want to record them at the best quality possible for the next album! Even better news, reiterated in the interview: Girl Just Died jest na nowej płycie! Yes, Girl Just Died made the track-listing for the forthcoming release, along with other live favourites and new songs such as Here Comes the Suffering (previously known as Ching), Gazillions Of Miniature Violins, Losing My Hair and Someone's Crying.

This means that fans abroad shouldn't miss out on a chance to hear the wonderful Out Of Africa, and will also have a top-notch album to call their own. We all win, including those of us who've bought the UK releases so far, because it's been a privilege to be in the loop these last couple of years and hear the band take shape.

More information can be found at the premier Crimea site: http://inaudible.co.uk/crimea/

I should also perhaps mention that tracks from the import EP [and a few others] are available for purchase from a variety of download sites, plus songs from the EP have been placed online by the band's record label for promotional listening—again, check out the site above for more info. No need to wait for a particular album or CD release! :)


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