Rating – 3.5/5
The latest single from the new album “Dark Hands, Thunderbolts” Crazy Arm delivers us Fear Up. It’s a punk western romp that blends Dropkick Murphys and Ennio Morricone. I’ll bet you didn’t know you needed that but you do.
Coming from a dark enough place, the name of the single is actually US military slang for suppressing a population through the fear of violent reprisal. The roots of the music are slightly less fearful though, a last hurrah after a seven year hiatus that almost became a permanent parting of the ways.
The single itself has the elements as mentioned plus a ribald yet fervent rhythm section that drives it on. The mariachi trumpet of Simon Dobson gives this a delightful hook that raises it above the potentially prosaic and serves to deliver something with a bit of character.
It absolutely travels in terms of the soundscape. It’s got punk, classic rock, strident vocals and then the mariachi brass turns. It’s delivered at a pace and it takes you with it rather than leaving you staring out the window as it flies off to goodness knows where. Written and recorded amidst a backdrop of movement and upheaval it’s not entirely surprising that the art should imitate life.
frontman Darren Johns writes:
“Our last record, ‘The Southern Wild’, was released in 2013. A year later we almost called it a day but Jon (Dailey – guitar) said we should record one more album. Behold! We demoed these songs in the summer of 2016 with our good friend, Tim Langsford, on drums, and started recording properly that winter with Tim and regular live drummer, Matt Colwell, on board. We finished recording in the summer of 2020, although we only spent three weeks actually working on the album. Suffice to say, this has been a very protracted affair.
Over the four years, the songs effectively grew up, hit puberty, left home and came back with crow’s feet and new pronouns. In the meantime, Jon got married, had a baby, and became a professional tattooist; Matt upped sticks again and settled in sunny Bournemouth; Luke (Yates – fiddle) got married and moved to Leeds; our good friend, Dan James, became our new bassist; Samantha Spake joined as second violinist; the ace Tia Kalmaru and Becky Saxton started singing with us; I fulfilled my dream of touring the USA, started playing solo as Warshy (as in, shy of war), and bid a final farewell to my mum and cat; and the world got disproportionately more unstable.
We may be 15 years old now (and more of a fluid collective than a band), and the twin troughs of Covid and Brexit may have scuppered all our best laid tour plans, but we’re not done yet! We hope ‘Dark Hands, Thunderbolts’ makes this current colossal sh**show a little easier to bear. Here’s to the unwritten future.”
This is absolutely worth checking out.
Review by Jim Clinch