‘Dear Reader’ by Crooks
From the album Are We All the Same Distance Apart (2015)
Crooks are one of the most beloved bands in the UK underground hardcore scene today. Their name appears regularly in Facebook groups with names along the lines of ‘Melodic Hardcore’, with people declaring their love for the band alongside relatively well known bands such as Defeater, Architects and Being As An Ocean. In a scene well known for its fierce devotion to certain bands, Crooks rack up a hell of a lot of mentions.
The band released their debut album, Are We All the Same Distance Apart, digitally on 30th October via Equal Vision Records, (the physical release to follow in November) with a stream on the bastion of heavy rock music in the UK, Kerrang, and have also recently been announced as the support act for the upcoming Coheed and Cambria/Glassjaw UK tour. That’s big news, and the band fully deserve that slot. Crooks put so much into their music, be it recorded or live, and Are We All… is the result of months, years even, of hard work and it is a result that they can be extremely proud of. From start to finish the album is packed full of fire tunes and I could have picked any one of them to feature this week, but I decided to go for the one track on the album that really stands out for me; track six, ‘Dear Reader’.
The track is explosive and undulating, beginning with a full-on guitar and drum assault before dropping down to a slower, yet super powerful, verse led by Josh Rogers’ incredible vocals. A further drop in pace (not intensity though) sees clean guitars and that metallic bass sound that everybody loves driving the song along. It is fair to say that Rogers’ vocal style has changed, adapted, since the Nevermore EP in 2012 and the original release of Are We All…’’s opener ‘Above Me’ in 2013, but it has changed for the better; making the band more accessible but in no way compromising the values and meaning behind Crooks. If anything, this change should help the band get their meaning out to more people.
If you listen to one album this week, this month or even this year then I urge it to be Are We All the Same Distance Apart. I had the pleasure of catching the band performing a secret show to a 40-capacity room last month; they played for barely twenty minutes and yet the sheer energy and intensity that they generated in that short amount of time was unbelievable. All of that energy has been poured into ‘Dear Reader’ and the album as a whole. Were I reviewing the whole album I’d be hard-pressed to award it anything below 9/10 and would certainly consider 10; I couldn’t recommend it more highly.