Crushed Beaks – The Other Room

It’s been five years since Crushed Beaks burst on to the scene with their debut album Scatter. As debuts go it was a glorious slice of indie pop. They return to us with a more gazey, early nineties influenced sound with their sophomore release The Other Room.

The first thing that strikes you here is how alike singer Matt Poile sounds to Damon Albarn. In fact, the opening track ‘Sky Burial’ could have come from the imaginary second Blur album where they didn’t invent Britpop and instead developed that woozy sound of Leisure. To truly appreciate this album, you need to put that aside and really dig into what the band are doing here.

The nasty, low down fuzz driven intro to ‘Right Machine’ is where you first get an inkling of the ambition shown by these songs. This track would sound immense in front of a massive festival crowd. Close your eyes and you can see them all bouncing up and down in time.

Everything is now sounding bigger. Drums crack, the bass booms and the guitars explode. Yeah this is more like it!

When we drop into the more slippery sound of ‘Silver Tongue’ things feel slightly less together. The song itself is really enjoyable but I am craving that big sound.

It’s not until we reach ‘Honesty Box’ that we return to that stadium filling sound again. This track takes no prisoners. It would be a brave soul who entered the mosh pit when they play this.

‘Bonfire Night’ continues that vibe and is my stand out track from The Other Room. The chorus is pure nineties shoegaze reinvented and repurposed.

I can see this album polarising listeners. The guitars really appeal to me with that shimmering and off kilter sound made famous by bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. It is that consistency of sound that may put off some folk but hey you can’t please all the people all the time. Why would you want to anyway? I’m answering my own questions now. Are you? Yes!

The Other Room feels like a massive step forward from Scatter and for that alone it’s a tremendous achievement for the band.

The Other Room is available now from the band directly via their Bandcamp store and all good retailers.

Mark Anderson
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