Naivety is a good thing. Especially when compared to the perpetual cynicism and hyper-ironic state that is the default mode of many bands nowadays. Crash and the Coots are naïve and in the best possible way.
They are after all a band that named themselves after one of the biggest selling Playstation games of all time, not considering that its makers Activision may take issue. Despite having been stripped of their ‘Bandi’, the band still look upon the world with fresh wide-eyes, unaffected by the myopia of malevolence. Before they even pick up an instrument tonight, they busy themselves transforming the small stage with fairy lights and flowers plucked from a Mary Poppins-esque Lidl bag. They then proceed to sing songs about insects and pretty girls, honeybees and love. They introduce each track with a sample, snippets of speech or a twittering of bird song; play harmonicas and cowbells, not caring a jot if they are considered cool or not.
And it may be an over-simplification to suggest that this naïvety guides their song-writing, but you get the sense that when Crash and the Coots hear something they like, they simply amalgamate it into their sound. What results is a cut and paste aesthetic: songs are collages, a series of influences and ideas stuck down with a pop-hook Pritt Stick and youthful exuberance. Their sound is not easy to pin down but Australian group Soft Tigers come closest with a similar attention-deficit charm. There is a nod to the white-boy funk appropriations of Bobby Conn (without the Prog) and Beck’s camp Prince-isms circa Midnight Vulture. Listen carefully and you can hear strands of ESG’s bass-heavy grooves and the DFA label’s fusion of post-punk strut and house.
Tonight the falsetto vocals and bass bounce of Don’t Have Any Legs is a highlight as is a hook-laden track debuted tonight with a working title of Night of The Living Shit. It is clear that Crash and the Coots have yet to mature, they have not found a definitive sound but that’s no bad thing. With maturity comes the death of naivety and that would be a terrible thing. Because now, right now, Crash and the Coots are fun, funky, and blissfully unknowing.
Words: Tom Spooner