For many Oasis fans, including Noel Gallagher, they wish upon a parallel universe. One where 1997's 'Be Here Now' had undergone extreme quality control.
Well, that wish might just have been granted in the form Chesterfield's The Crooks. Cut them and they will bleed DMA's via the extravagance of Oasis circa 1996 to 1998 but, crucially, without the self-indulgence on their latest EP ‘Now Then’.
'Grey Man' has the lone wanderer feel of Noel's solo masterpiece 'Riverman'. Here though, he walks upright with youthful enthusiasm. The psychedelic guitars of Stee and Mods are the perfect platform for frontman Jacko to execute his Liam Gallagher via Thomas O’Dell (DMA’s) vocals. As Jacko decrees “bring me back to the wonderland”, music lovers over the age of 30 will have their youthful ambition restored whilst this generation runs amok to secure it for them.
The Oasis via DMA’s style continues throughout to wonderful effect. ‘All Isn’t As It Seems’ is a lyrical update of ‘Live Forever’ or The Enemy’s ‘Away From Here’. As the chorus of “I want to live my life away / I’m sick of doing it your way” images of huge festival crowds singing arm in arm come rushing to the fore. Meanwhile, on ‘Champagne & Caviar’, the parallel universe strikes. Oasis’ ‘It’s Getting Better Man’ is cut down to 3mins of scintillating solos and the hunger of ‘Definitely Maybe’.
When they do strike for the stadium rock sound on ‘Rocket’, it comes with the anguish that rock ‘n’ roll needs to truly matter. With a punk spirit in its veins, ‘Rocket’ is the sound of people trying to make ends meet and enjoy themselves. All the while, an Etonian racist and Pro-Privatisation of NHS dickheads battle it out to rule over us. The sheer guts and desperation of ‘Rocket’ can be all things to all people. It’s a clarion call to the jaded and a helping hand to those on the canvas. It’s uniting spirit is a reminder that rock n roll will never die.
Despite the comparisons to DMA's and Oasis, this is not just a re-hash. The Crooks are very much one step backwards, 2 steps forward sonically. It’s the spirit they evoke on ‘Now Then’ that shines brightest. It’s as though they put Shane Meadows in charge of producing ‘Be Here Now’ to give it the brutal reality check it needed. The results, heady and pure rock n roll.