Leeds quartet Crumbs are throwing a splash of colour into the UK punk scene this July with the release of their debut album, Mind Yr Manners. It’s a short and sweet collection of tracks as unconventional as they are catchy.
Mind Yr Manners is an album of juxtapositions, Ruth Gilmore’s vocals detail various struggles in coping with life over fuzzy post-punk guitars, whilst the bass and drums keep a toe-tapping, dance-able, rhythmic sensibility consistent throughout the record. By all rights it’s a sound that shouldn’t work and it absolutely does, in a crowded DIY scene Crumbs have carved out a sound that is completely their own. Opening track, and latest release from the album, Weasels Can Wait aptly encapsulates what it is the band do. Gilmore sings “I wanna break down and cry” over a bassline almost reminiscent of The Cure’s early work. Comparisons to the days of music gone by are furthered by the lo-fi approach the band take towards their music, this is by no means a glossy record and it’s all the better for it.
The second track Cha Cha Feels continues with the same sonic bravado, this time with the funk turned up to eleven by bassist Jamie Wilson. Sitting down to review the record it was hard not to get up and shake what my mother gave me when it came to this track. It’s a highlight of the record that is also indicative of its biggest issue, the lyrical content. Although Gilmore certainly has great presence as a vocalist, the lyrics often feel repetitive and unoriginal. It’s something most likely intended to fit with the bands simplistic and no-frills musicality, whether intentional or not on songs like Chaka Can’t it does make for a serious earworm. Perhaps the way that the vocals sit high above the instrumentation in the mix emphasises them to point that this becomes more of a criticism than it would otherwise be. Music that makes you want to dance is rarely famed for its lyrics after all.
The remainder of Mind Yr Manners doesn’t outstay its welcome, in fact the whole post-punk party is over in under half an hour. There isn’t another summer anthem on the scale of track two but if it’s a dose of colourful, DIY, post-punk you’re after you could do a lot worse than Crumbs’ debut record.