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Riotous, emotive and informing, Daniel Ponzini steps into the explosive world of the four-piece.
“[Statues] is really fresh and really new – I don’t think anyone is writing music like that right now,” explains Holly Minto. It’s hard to disagree with her when you experience the passion in her vocal delivery on the track. The assemblage of sounds behind her resemble The Clash at their angriest or the Sex Pistols at their most enraged.
The landmark single belongs to self-branded “North West misfits” CRAWLERS, a four-piece alternative rock band consisting of Minto (vocalist), Amy Woodall (lead guitar), Harry Breen (drums) and Liv Kettle (bass). Only released in March, the song has amassed well over 75,000 plays on Spotify and sits comfortably with a discography bearing the hallmarks of a band very much on an upward trajectory.
Previous releases Hush and So Tired have reinforced Crawlers’ assertion that rock ’n’ roll is still alive and kicking. So far, they have displayed an ability to career into a chorus like a Midwestern emo band from the early 2000s – Modern Baseball-esque – and navigate verses with a lyrical nous far beyond the blueprint of a regular rock outfit.
In keeping with the theme of lyricism, you would think that the barrage of instruments on their latest effort would obfuscate any meaningful message Minto tries to convey, but their poised sensibility in these moments of madness creates a feeling akin to watching a sunrise across a clear-skied day. Her fierce image – curly red hair, pronounced lipstick, strong eyeshadow – is enough to make a boomer gasp. But don’t be confused by how this band masks sentimentality in the way they look. They may hold onto moments of careful lyricism and chord progressions by a thread, but they manage to achieve a poetic flair and elegance in the way they contrast love and loss through light and dark chord progressions, and happy and sad drum patterns. The contrast is captivating.
Holly explains that the sense of urgency and exasperation that bleeds into Crawlers’ sound is born from the frustration of the last 12 months. “We had to become an online band,” she admits. While being unable to tour (obviously) or work together in a close-knit environment could have halted the band’s momentum, they refused to let it tamper with their progress, and instead found innovative ways to continue creating. “It depended on what part of lockdown we were in,” Minto says, referencing countless phonecalls and messages about song ideas. The only constant factor in this confusing scenario was the drive to create more and more.
Since they started releasing music in 2019, Crawlers have collected fans from every corner of the country; a fanbase that is willing to hang on every word Minto expels. But their new EP marks a shift. “All of the songs are newly written,” Minto explains, and are littered with the political topics that defined socially-charged lockdowns in 2020. Minto explains how “it’s a multi-person process” that drives the band’s creativity, both musically and visually. The cover art for Statues has the Statue of Liberty projected onto Minto’s face and, speaking about this creative decision, she expresses their discontent with the current socio-political arena. The symbol of freedom marks itself as the image on the EP as well as in the verses. “Writing felt liberating,” she states, alluding to the thought-provoking lyrics: “The president kills his people, and all the rooms are filled of all the sleeping people who this country killed” she announces, over a droning guitar riff.
It is obvious that political and societal discourse is a big part of this band’s image and sound. It is also clear to see the talent the band possesses when politically loaded lyrics like those on Statues are coupled with enchanting melodies that give the words a more profound meaning and purpose. If not a rock band, then they are activists.
“There’s certainly a bit of Courtney Love in the lyricism,” Minto adds, citing their influences, while the rest of the band chip in with artists like Tool and Smashing Pumpkins. “The music is a combination of our personalities,” Minto and the band explain. Perhaps the ability to draw on all genres of music allows Crawlers to create a sound that they see as comfortingly personal.
The band all nod in agreement when Minto suggests that they have “discovered their sound” on their forthcoming EP. It is clear to see that it is a body of work they are all proud of. “It shows all sides of Crawlers,” she says. Statues itself marks the arrival of a band who are determined to begin the inauguration of a new era for rock and alternative music, one that isn’t afraid to include political commentary in their art.
It is a statement of intent and this band is here to stay – this is just the beginning of their efforts to make music that is more engaging, more topical and simply better.
Statues and Breathe are available now via Modern Sky