How NOT to write about music – 114. Poppy Jean Crawford

Poppy Jean Crawford

One site has it:

Poppy Jean Crawford sings out amid a heavy two beat drum, hypnotic bass and a wall of distorted guitar on this unrelenting angst strewn powerhouse. Her angelic voice is a pure light shining in the gloom denying the darkness that surrounds. As the drums and guitars build in menace throughout it only renders Poppy’s voice that more tender and touching.

Tempestuous, brooding and rousing in equal amounts ‘Same Old Tricks’ is a powerful slice of deliciously dark Americana.

Yes, yes, but is it any good?

Another site has it:

The daughter of a filmmaker mother and artist father, Crawford schooled herself in L.A.’s DIY scene, hanging out at places such as the Smell and taking an interest in writing music. “Soon enough,” she says, “I dropped out of school. I thought, fuck it, I know what I’m supposed to do.”

Yes yes, but is it any good?

Fuck yeah. The deepening insistent pounding bass refrain, the near-ethereal (there’s a word that should be banned from every music critic’s lexicon) vocals, almost not-there, the juxtaposition between quiet and LOUD, quiet and LOUD, the way it lingers maliciously, the underlying (small ‘g’) gothicness of it all, the fact I don’t know who the fuck the artist is and probably never will, the way it reminds me of my twin heartthrobs Cranes and Scout Niblett (interesting midpoint!), the whole tempestuous mystery… this could be Everett-True-by-numbers.

This reads like an insult. It is not an insult. It is not an insult by any stretch of the imagination. The sound quality on the Soundcloud artist page is far superior, incidentally.

Recommended by a friend on Twitter and much appreciated. I LOVE a good rec’.

YOU WANT TO know how I feel when I listen to Espero, the new three-track EP from Portsmouth’s Cranes, right? You want to know whether it evokes images of abused childhoods, fetal murmurs, voodoo nursery rhymes, claustrophobia, the horror from Eraserhead, disembodied structures, obsession, right? You want to know how this music affects me. Okay, I’ll tell you.

The new Cranes single makes me feel distinctly, devoutly, uneasy. The first track, ‘I Hope’, is the sound of devastation, pain, isolation; a child inarticulately screaming as it faces a nameless, faceless horror in the closet, the attic, face downwards in the frowning pool. The second track, ‘E. G. Shining’, reminds of that section in E. Nesbitt’s The Story of the Amulet, where the word of power is spoken and the air grows dank and oppressive, the hubbub of Victorian London streets outside fades to a mere trickle, and the charm begins to grow and grow until it fills the whole room. And on the other side… my God, you don’t want to know what’s on the other side. And the third track ‘Cha Cha Escueta’, makes me feel exotic, ecstatic. Cranes put me in touch with emotions that aren’t there.
Cranes: Indecent Obsessions – Melody Maker, 10 November 1990

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