Crooks – ‘Are We All the Same Distance Apart’

By Jess Tagliani

Cheltenham quintet Crooks have been hitting the touring scene hard since their inception; they’ve shared stages alongside the likes of Gallows, Your Demise, Basement, Marmozets and more. Over the years, they’ve released a couple of singles and an EP, but there’s always been that impatient thought of “When are you going to release your debut album?!”

Crooks finally relented and entered the studio with Dan Lancaster (Bring Me the Horizon, Mallory Knox) to record their stunning offering ‘Are We All the Same Distance Apart’. And from the start of this album, Crooks launch into an assault of blistering riffs, a thick and fast tempo, and big, intense vocals.

‘Above Me’ is a fine start; boisterous drum work sees this track come together in a storm of roaring adrenaline, before moving onto ‘What Might Have Been’, which sees Chris Capewell of Solemn Sun step in to lend guest vocals. The change between his and Josh Rogers is a sheer delight; Josh’s vocals are strident in power and tempo, whilst Chris’ plaintive cries of “Lose me” during the last few chords are bruising.

One of the standout tracks of this album is ‘Schӧne Seele’, German for ‘beautiful soul’, and is one of the tracks that best displays Josh’s beautifully strong vocals. Throughout the course of this album, he consistently demonstrates just how fantastic he is – his vocals soar, changing from loud and raucous, to soft and tender. Combined with their furious and slick riffs, it’s a killer combination. Title track ‘Are We All the Same Distance Apart’ is raw and rough, packed with coarse riffs and dynamic drum work; it’s another highlight within this fantastic album.

Deliciously saucy guitar licks sign off ‘From the Sticks to Bitterness’, while ‘May Be’ reins things in for a breather. The piano-led track is stunning, displaying that Crooks are not just loud and crashing – they can be quiet and thoughtful too. And then there are tracks like ‘Dear Reader’, which is packed with frenzied energy, crushed with speed and visceral riffs and yet still retains the softness of Josh’s emotional lyrics, with lines such as “I’m losing myself.” This is a recurring theme throughout the album – Crooks constantly bring heart-tugging lyrics to the table. Lines such as “I’ve never sang of love before” and “I need you more now”, both from ‘A Few Peaceful Days’, showcases their maturity whilst digging deep to display their delicate emotions.

In ‘Are We All the Same Distance Apart’, a rollercoaster of emotions can be found amidst these loud, imposing tracks. It may have been an impatient wait for Crooks to finally release an album, but the wait was well worth it; this is a well-produced and carefully planned out release, one that’s vibrant and bold, and one that will resonate with many people from different walks of life.

JESS TAGLIANI

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