FEBRUARY ALBUM OF THE MONTH
‘Point Of No Return’ is a moment in time in the rebirth of modern British rock. Europe’s most consistently emphatic live rock band issues an album that bottles the confidence and excitement of a band that has become the talking-point in clubs and venues across the UK over the last five years.
‘Point of No Return’ is significant for another reason. In recent years, Crows fans have evolved in two waves. There have been those that backed the band with the original self-release of ‘Murder And The Motive’ in 2016 and have been patiently waiting for new material. More recently, there has been a large influx of new fans that have discovered the band since Earache signed the band and masterminded the big push for the re-worked ‘Murder And The Motive’ in 2018. Significantly, now is the first time that all of the Crows fans are in the same place and – at the same time – everyone shares the excitement of a new album that looks set to follow Massive Wagons’ footsteps and rock the (rather un-rocky) Official Album Charts.
Creatively, ‘Point of No Return’ represents a straight evolution from the first album but what is apparent is the underlying mood and character of the music has far greater confidence. The collection of new recordings captures the sound of a band brimming with self-belief: A band that knows who they are – and knows where they are going.
The band delivers in spades when it comes to the signature bangers that define their live sets: ‘Set In Stone’, ‘Sin on Skin’, ‘Send The Reaper’ and ‘Kingdom Of Dust’ are songs built for the stage – music that can dominate festivals, and could effortlessly fill arenas. Those Damn Crows are one of a very few bands that grow into bigger venues, when many struggle to fill the larger spaces. Think Springsteen at Wembley, Queen at Knebworth – great bands effortlessly get bigger and better with the size of the occasion and the latent potential the Crows have here is significant for being relatively rare.
With ‘Be You’ we have a more radio-friendly commercial rocker with softer edges – a more melodic side to the band than was evident on the band’s first album. ‘Be You’ is distinctly more ‘pop’ in its structure and sensibility, but this is nothing to be scoffed at: For modern rock to have a sustainable and commercially viable future, rock has to return itself to the mainstream and to earn the attention of a broader audience – and this is the kind of song that can do just that. When music of any genre is great, the genre suddenly ceases to matter.
‘Who Did It’ has a special place with my weekly Friday radio show – on release, it became the most played song during a single rock show. The playful and passionate excitement of Twitter fans and callers piling in the requests said a lot about the song, but also the fans’ broader excitement about the band’s new chapter. Also, for a band often judged by the pace and intensity of the music, this song reminds us we should not overlook the band’s ability for commenting on topical issues through the lyrical merit of the material.
‘Never Win’ is exquisite in its self-control and emotional vulnerability and follows on from the jaw-dropping piano version of ‘Blink Of An Eye.’ These songs really showcase the band’s accomplished song-writing talents, the potential to really experiment and broaden their range beyond hard-rocking bangers and it’s something to get excited about for the future. The irony here – for one of Britain’s best hard-rocking bands, it’s when the amps are turned off that the Crows really show the places they can go that other bands simply can’t.
‘Going Down’ is great fun and reminds us that some of these new songs have been in the making for some time. I recall it was during my interview with the band at Wildfire 2017 when this song was first mentioned as being in development. A bit of rock n roll sauce here, delivered with an infectious swagger that people will find hard not to react to.
It reminded me of Aerosmith a bit but, ultimately, the Crows sound is their own.
The debut had an anthem for a new generation of rock n roll, but lacked range in terms of the number of songs that were obvious commercial singles. With album two, almost every song could be a single. Here we have songs that can each stand on their own two feet, catch people on a first listen – and draw in requests for repeat plays. Fans will already have heard four or five singles but the strength of the album is that these songs are not the obvious choices. A case could easily be made for five others being the big songs – the last four tracks on the album could equally have been opening singles – ‘Go Get It’ which I played on last week’s radio show had an electric reaction. This doesn’t happen often, we all have music in our collections where albums fall to pieces after the two or three big songs have been played.
The album closers – ‘Hey Man’ and ‘Devil In My Pocket’ could be two of the dark horses on the album. For me, they have classic Crows DNA – attack and pace with the versus and rousing, empowering chorus lines that pull you in. ‘Rock N Roll Aint Dead’ from the debut album was never as a hit, it evolved organically from the grassroots media and club scene as a chosen fan anthem. These songs have similar potential over time to grow in real stature as songs.
The Crows are a special band for me at Great Music Stories. The original release of ‘Murder and Motive’ was Album Of The Month back in October 2016 and, after an 18-month run of intense airplay and interviews, the band was voted Band Of The Year in December 2017. This turned heads at the time – but today it would seem totally normal. Such is the measure of the band’s rise in recent years. And the formula is simple – a band that is second to none on stage, that writes music people relate to – and is delivered by nice, down to earth people. ‘Point of No Return’ is a masterclass in how the marriage of grounded musicians with a good label can take a grassroots band to the top – and in doing so – can take rock back into the mainstream. This is the Point of No Return we have all be waiting for and this is the real reason why this new album matters.
‘Point of No Return’ is released on 7 February 2020
Follow the band’s news and tour news at
Preorder CD and vinyl copies via Earache Records at: https://webstore.earache.com
More Crows from the Great Music Stories Archive
Band of the Year write up
Album of the Month write up – Murder And The Motive (2016)
Selected audio archive:
Three-festival Preview 2018
Band of the Year Interview 2017
Live from Wildfire 2017
Spring 2017 Hour Special
THOSE DAMN CROWS – POINT OF NO RETURNhttps://greatmusicstories.com/2017/06/12/feature-interview-those-damn-crows-the-road-to-wildfire/