IF THERE’S one thing that Sheffield band The Crookes agrees on, it’s that you can’t beat a good pop song.
Especially if it’s one by The Byrds, The Beatles or the Ronettes.
For more than five years now, Sheffield’s pop maestros have been celebrating the pop medium in its music and live shows.
“We all love 60s pop bands like The Beatles, The Ronettes and The Byrds. Those bands are our purest influences,” says Waite.
The Crookes songs cover a range of topics, American Girls’ for example, is a straight-up male fantasy about being the object of many a girl’s affection in America.
“It’s about a British man going over to America and coming across beautiful American girls who are besotted by his British accent. We don’t want to get too serious,” says frontman George Waite.
But while The Crookes are blasting through a sold-out tour as we speak, the future of pop is uncertain. The internet has diluted the power of the music press and there is no dominant direction in which pop is heading and this – according to Waite – has been a concern for The Crookes for some time.
“Sometimes being in a band and writing songs feels like a futile endeavour as the market for pop is shrinking. Even in the past five to 10 years it has shrunk, but we still sell out venues. The other night we saw people queuing up outside a venue to buy tickets to see us.”
The Crookes has a secure, loyal following across the country – however far from Sheffield they perform.
“As long as people are coming to see us that’s all that matters. We’re optimistic. We had a drunken chat with Richard Hawley one night and he said to keep at it – no matter what people say, and we thought that was a really nice sentiment.”
The Crookes’ combination of sheer grit and determinism is manifested in the band’s longevity – they have been working as a full-time band for several years now. Already, the Sheffield-formed act is touring its second album, Hold Fast.
The Crookes is – it seems – constantly touring. Next week the band brings its Hold Fast repertoire to Sheffield on the back of a full UK tour.
But the respite isn’t something the band is looking forward to. “When you’re back from a tour there’s no structure. We are left to our own devices, we don’t have Matt, our tour manager, telling us where we need to be. In a way being on tour is like an army camp – only the most fun and easy-going army camp ever. You can’t complain.”
The Crookes don’t hang about, either, when it comes to writing.
Dan Hopewell has already started penning the lyrics for some of the songs on the next album.
“He’s been sat in the back of the van in the cold and dark writing with only the light from his phone. God knows what the album will sound like but we quite like the fact that we have no idea what it will sound like.”
The Crookes play The Leadmill, Leadmill Road on Saturday, November 24..