It’s been four years since south London-based Crushed Beaks released their debut album, Scatter – but with their new album The Other Room, the band return in a confident mood. The vocals are more direct, lyrics more incisive and the overall theme of the record more confrontational.
“The Other Room is about seeing things as they really are, and facing up to the reality of the situation,” explains Matt Poile, “Whether it’s facing fears or trying to empathise and see things from someone else’s perspective, the songs were shaped by the growing sense of division that was beginning to take hold around the world. Yet it’s not political – it’s about people and how they relate to one another, how they see themselves, and how those relationships are in a constant state of flux.”
The first single, “Honesty Box” is a blast of pure energy powered by a driving motorik beat and drenched in layers of warped distortion. Hooks rise up out of the furore, first a sinewy melted guitar line, then the vocals: “I got ahead of myself, it’s only a dream I had”. Layers peel away before the momentum builds again, exposing where it’s all heading: “I like you just the way you are”.
one to rush into things, the songs for The
Other Room were written in a windowless studio in east London over
the course of two years. “I lost
track of time” Matt says. “It was
easy to feel completely cut off and unselfconscious about what I was doing
because the room had this huge metal door and thick concrete walls.” Poile
spent over a year recording and refining demos alone before bringing bass player,
Scott Bowley and new drummer, Tim Watkins back into the fold to work out how to
play the songs live.
Having caught the ear of producer Matt Peel (Eagulls, Menace Beach) at a Halloween show with Metz and Mitski, the band relocated to his studio, The Nave, in a converted church in Leeds to record the new album over a two-week stretch. Peel produced, mixed and mastered the record.
While their debut was created with minimal equipment, The Other Room finds the band making full use of the studio’s wealth of analogue gear. “We were like kids in a candy store, we went from having one amp and a couple of pedals to being in this insanely well-kitted out space” says Poile. The result is a huge step forward for the band – the hooks hit harder and the fuzz gets twisted into wilder new shapes.
The Other Room is a slice of driving indie rock full of hooks and unusual flourishes. It’s garage rock for seeing through walls. It sounds like Blur have got the fuzz pedals out and are having fun again.
The band are made up of Matt Poile (vocals and guitar), Scott Bowley (bass) and Tim Watkins (drums), who joined shortly after the release of their debut album Scatter (Moshi Moshi 2015).