Crimea Tragedy Rocks

Although issued in the UK over a year ago, North American fans of dynamic, dramatic melodic rock in the spirit of Ziggy-era Bowie ought to find this disc well worth the wait. Ample and complex, it wouldn’t be that much of an overstatement to designate this debut effort from former Crocketts members Davey Macmanus and Owen Hopkin as a masterpiece. The 14 tracks that comprise the disc marry big, sweeping rock arrangements with deliciously infectious hooks, the likes of which stay with listeners long after the power button is punched off. Vocalist and principal songwriter Macmanus (an Irishman who hooked up with Welshman Hopkin at university) possesses one of those rare, so-bad-it’s-great voices and delivers his clever, hardcover-worthy prose in an original, contrasting style that’s equal parts casual conversation and impassioned agony. For what it’s worth, the Crimea were one of the last bands to win John Peel’s unequivocal endorsement before the legendary DJ’s death. In a perfect world, half of these tracks would be big hit singles. With a major label looking after their U.S. interest now, here’s hoping the band sell enough records to warrant a couple of tours up this way, as the group apparently kick ass live, too. (Warner)