The running joke about the UK town of Sheffield is that all that comes from Sheffield is misery. Don’t believe us? Look at the bands that call it home: Most famously, there’s Throbbing Gristle who, as great as they are, aren’t anyone’s idea of a party band. There’s also Pulp and Arctic Monkeys, bands known just as much for their acrid, cynical sense of humor as their estimable body of work. But while Sheffield outfit The Crookes aren’t exactly optimists — the first line of their third record, after all, is “I’ve had my midlife crisis by the age of 25″ — the music on Soapbox on the whole feels sunnier than many of their countrymen’s. They have some of the Arctic Monkeys’ tart tunefulness, and the romanticism of Richard Hawley — who’s also from Sheffield, and is one of the band’s heroes (they even opened for him on his 2013 tour). More than anything, Soapbox is a sturdy batch of guitar-driven pop songs, the perfect accompaniment to the onrushing summer.
[Soapbox will be released on April 15th on Modern Outside]