Plymouth band Crazy Arm tone it down with new album
LOCAL heroes Crazy Arm complete a ten-date headlining tour of the UK to launch their latest long player The Southern Wild, with a finale show tonight.
But if you're expecting the hardcore punk blast of their regular shows, think again.
In among all that will be some acoustic tunes of exquisite beauty – the track Fossils in particular – heralding this, the band's first fully acoustic album.
While it might surprise some to think that a punk band, albeit one with country sensibilities, can produce something as folksy and at times mellow as this, for main man Darren Johns it's all perfectly natural.
"The sentiment is the same as are the politics," he says.
"The genres might differ but there's more than a faint whiff of punk in this record.
"Many of the songs on our previous punk albums [Born to Ruin and Union City Breath] started as acoustic songs and turned into rock songs.
"So to me this isn't progress – it's letting the songs stay as they were.
"It was Murder By Death who showed us that you can blend Americana with punk with incredible effect."
They pulled it off brilliantly at Chagstock Festival, one of their highlight shows of the year, thrilling a crowd not usually up for such hardcore vibes.
It was all the more amazing because they were showcasing new bass player Nathan Stevens – in his first show with them – and drummer Matt Colwell after two long-standing members of the band, Tim Rowing-Parker and Simon Marsh, left earlier in the year.
"Matt and Nathan were both long time fans of Crazy Arm and in fact Matt has shown incredible dedication by moving from Lincoln to Plymouth to be in the band.
"We've also acquired a phenomenal fiddle player in Luke Yates who has been with us on this recent tour.
"These past ten days on tour with the new line-up have been fantastic."
The album was recorded with the previous line-up, including Jon Dailey, Vicky Butterfield and Patrick James Pearson.
Vicky's fabulous vocals open the album with the moody a cappella track Oh Death.
The acoustic treatment allows wide variety in style, offering lush Crosby, Stills and Nash-style vocals on Remembrance, bags of bluegrass brilliance on the likes of Don't Be Cruel and We Don't Go There Any More and there's even a touch of medieval folk in the instrumental The Wildcats Of Denbury.
"Some band members miss the rock," concludes Darre, "but I love the space the music has to breathe and the fact Vicky and I can hear what we're singing!"
Crazy Arm will be playing two shows tonight – the first at Maggies Cafe (Tramps) at 8.30pm, and the second around the corner at the White Rabbit alongside Damerals, The PJP Band and Big Fin.