20th January 1990, N.M.E.
"There's a tremendous amount of optimism in what we've done so far. It might seem trippy or ethereal to some people, but we weren't under the influence of drugs when we recorded. We just shut our eyes and got on with it, letting the essence of the music pour out......."
Alison, mouthpiece with bright hopes THE CRANES, gets into her stride. Lots of complimentary things have been happening to her group recently. First there was a smattering of media interest following the 'Self/Non Self' LP, then a veritable avalanche with recent gigs. You can't undermine the power of word of mouth publicity.
The Cranes are currently in the enviable position of being hounded by majors and high flying indies alike. And why? Well, I'd put it down to the resolutely anti-comatose swirl of their sound - taking gothic staples and re-translating them into the 90's while keeping an eye on changes across the ocean.
Distinctiveness is their forte. They don't have the spectre of the Smiths hanging over them and you'd be hard pressed to trace any influences at all. They seem to come from some parallel universe, with Alison spinning closely knit tales that embrace suspense and the otherworldly. When asked what they are trying to communicate, protective, almost defensive stances follow with neither Alison, Mark nor Jim coming up with a straight answer. The Cranes aren't naive about the workings of the business, but such reticence only serves to increase their enigmatic qualities.
Jim : "Our music is all-consuming. I barely get to watch the News. It doesn't mean I don't know what's going on, though. If war broke out I'd be the first to hide."
It should be a prolific year for the Cranes if pundits remove their tongues from Manchesters nether-regions. They've already got two LP's worth of material in the pipeline. Even recent snags like the departure of two group members shouldn't stop their meteoric rise. The reason for their success will lie in that distinctive voice; Alison is also a fitting focal point, much as we're loathe to admit it, stirring up stirlust in the indie crowd.
You must hate the term 'ethereal' . . .
"We don't belong there," Alison claims. "There's a lot more energy behind what we do than, say, The Cocteau Twins."
Jim: "If you looked for the true meaning of the word, then I wouldn't be ashamed to be categorised that way. It's a big, far-reaching word that's become meaningless through over use."
Reviewed by Dele Fadele
© NME 1990