Another encounter slightly derailed by Covid in its making and release, Beware Believers is the new album from British post punks CROWS. The silver lining was that the band once enabled to return to its completion came back “with fresh ears” and could “make sure it sounded like it should: a true representation of Crows.” The result is an encounter which sparked spiraling ardour and addiction in these ears and swiftly it has seemed a great many others.
The follow up to their acclaimed 2019 debut, Silver Tongues, the just released and highly anticipated Beware Believers is a gloriously nagging slab of post punk nurtured sonic cynicism and dark inclinations delivered with visceral instinctiveness and virulent contagion. It is an encounter that seems to draw on nostalgic inspirations but embracing them in the London band’s esuriently fresh and individual vision and enterprise. There are hints of bands such as Joy Division, The Slow Readers Club, Leitmotiv and Disorientations but teasing hues in the band’s character and voice of sound which across the album can be as noisy and ferocious as it is invitingly seductive and as imposing as it is haunting.
Opening up with Closer Still, the album immediately had ears hooked as it marched with flags of noise around rhythms with an appetite for pugilism. From its first forceful step, virulence drives the song, vocals and enterprise equally as commanding in its voracious and raucous sortie on the senses.
The outstanding start is simply stretched and escalated by the following pair of Garden Of England and Only Time. The first is a track inspired by Brexit and the landscape of discontent around it and another track which storms the barricades with enlivening energy and quarrelsome confrontation but like the opener weaves that trespass with manipulative enterprise and rapacious punk bred ferocity while the second drills under the skin with rhythmic dispute and sonic corrosiveness craftily designed as another orchestration of cathartic infectiousness, tempting matched in lyrical contemplation and uproar.
With our addiction already kicking in, Slowly Separate truly trapped its presence with its PiL like discord against a deliciously inescapable Girls In Synthesis-esque sonic and rhythmic nagging, a suggestion of the mundane in the latter’s gripping baiting defused by its organic catchiness while Moderation with indelible prowess captured the imagination with its clamorous serenade, again that tantalizing haunting quality the band conjures enthralling within the sonic smog.
The cleaner but no less intense Healing merges post punk with an inherent rock ‘n’ roll instinct for its own intimately evocative and poignant contemplation before Room 156 trips the psychotic with rhythmic rapacity and open animated irritability in voice and guitar spun webbing. Both tracks proved as much a seduction as a violation, each escalating the captivation and lust felt which Meanwhile further inflamed with its Josef K meets Mighty Lemon Drops scented call and punk sourced eruptions.
With every minute Beware Believers left the surrounding world a distance distraction for attention, the next up pair of Wild Eyed & Loathsome, a song partly inspired by a poem the father of Cox wrote, and The Servant tightening that dominion. Each have their own sense of menace and contention in their engagement, the first through its entanglement of grooves and its successor with punk ‘n’ roll bickering to its personal and world challenging discord.
Completed by the richly haunting Sad Lad, a track with chilling resonance within ethereal darkness unveiling the most seductive cacophony of sound and persuasion, Beware Believers has set a new aspect and incitement for post punk. Equally it has cast Crows as one of the most compelling and exciting propositions around, for us their album of the year contender indisputable evidence.
Beware Believers is out now through Bad Vibrations Records.
Pete RingMaster 21/04/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review