If ‘Play Dumb’ was written to provoke a conversation, then it certainly succeeded in my eyes. The premier single on The Crookes third album, Soapbox, offers an interesting dichotomy of prettiness and intelligence, sincerity and lies, superficial attraction and dark secrets.
The anguish in singer George Waite’s eyes seems all too real as he is forced to undergo a makeover, complete with mascara, wig, and dress, becoming a person who just might be “pretty enough to play dumb”. This transformation is accompanied by the blunt lyrics and loud attitude that characterises ‘Play Dumb”s content – confronting social norms and conflicting attitudes in one fell blow.
Waite performs with fierce conviction, a mouthful of scorn and clenched fists, personifying the message behind this loud song.
So what is their message? Play Dumb. Or, rather, don’t. The narration of this song indicates the problematic nature of following an idol blindly, failing to appreciate a person for who they are by merely accepting one facet of their image. They’re tired of playing the fool and they want to show the world what they’re really capable of.
The words “don’t you dare compare me to poster-boys too thick to see the truth” merely highlights the problems of the modern age; the desperation to be understood and to be recognised for the right reasons. This is a band that holds sincerity in the forefront of their minds; hoping that their message is clear to fans and critics alike.
The concept behind the album is, to quote lyrcist Daniel Hopewell, “the idea of The Outsider. As a band that seems to suit us…never invited inside, but never wanting to be.” ‘Play Dumb’ introduces this message loud and clear with harsh tones and unforgiving refrain; it’s attitude will not be ignored.
This is their declaration: “I don’t need you no more”. This theme runs throughout the entire album, distancing The Crookes from their critics, demonstrating their reluctance to compromise when they’ve got their own dreams to pursue, ghosts to chase, and songs to write.
This is only reinforced by Hopewell, who comments “the intention has never been to make people like us…but simply to make music that we like.”
We’ve heard it all before, but is anyone listening?
See ‘Play Dumb’ below:
The Crookes have just announced their UK and European tour dates. Starting in Nottingham on April 15th, the band plan to circulate the UK before heading off to the continent for four weeks .
All UK dates promise to be less than £10 a ticket and many shows are 14+ age restricted – not bad, eh?
Get yourself down to a gig (or three) and meet the men behind the fierce melodies.
15th April – NOTTINGHAM Bodega
16th April – LEEDS The Cockpit
17th April – NEWCASTLE Cluny 2
18th April – GLASGOW King Tut’s
19th April – HULL The Adelphi
22nd April – MANCHESTER Sound Control
23rd April – BIRMINGHAM Hare & Hounds
24th April – STOKE Sugarmill
25th April – BATH Moles
26th April – SOUTHAMPTON Lennons
27th April – BRISTOL Thekla
28th April – BRIGHTON The Hope
29th April – LONDON CAMDEN Dingwalls
2nd May – PARIS La Fleche D’Or
3rd May – UTRECHT Ekko
4th May – EINDHOVEN Effenaar
5th May – GHENT Video
7th May – COLOGNE Studio 672
9th May – COPENHAGEN Loppen
11th May – BERLIN Comet
12th May – MUNICH The Atomic Cafe
13th May – VIENNA Chelsea
15th May – TREVISO Home
16th May – MARINA DI RAVENNA Hana-Bi
17th May – MILAN Lofi
20th May – ZURICH Exil
21st May – LAUSANNE Bleu Lezard
22nd May – LILLE La Peniche
23rd May – AMSTERDAM Paradiso
31st May – SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Tickets available here: www.thecrookes.co.uk/tour-dates
‘Play Dumb’ will be released on 7” vinyl and digital download on 3rd March 2014.
Soapbox will released on CD, LP vinyl and digital download on 14th April 2014.