Russell Crawford
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Russell Crawford

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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Local Label Popboomerang Records has an enviable reputation for bringing to our attention under-represented yet beguilingly talented artists. Russell Crawford's debut album, floating Aimlessly, does anything but, and is yet another example of Popboomerang's sublime eye for ability. By turns bouncy and bitey, with a drive supplied by Crawford's dynamic piano playing and his lyrical skill, this has been described as the kind of album that might result from a jam between Ben Folds and Neil finn were Elvis Costello to oversee proceedings, and far be it for this reviewer to argue a point as well made as that one. Like most good music, The 12 breezy tunes on Floating Aimlessly are not afraid to speak to the influences that helped create them, yet are refreshingly different enough to address the notion of the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts. Highlights, for me, include opening number Overachiever and middle of the album Melody, both worth the price of admission alone, so to speak, but the best thing about these two numbers are that they are surrounded but ten more. Crawford has had some tough breaks recently: a terrible neck injury that saw him bed-ridden for half a year. Interestingly, though, this is not the kind of album - despite its seeming accessibility and ease - that could have been made without the trip to the darkness of a place like that. Hopefully, floating aimlessly brings this supremely talented and muscular songwriter some of the further recognition he so richly deserves. It would be nice to think the we lived in a world where bad lick like that mentioned above would balance out with an easy time of it for Crawford and his music. I'm not sure we do live in that world, but have a listen to this terrific album and you'll start to wish we did, too.
Tony McMahon
Inpress Melbourne - Inpess


Americana - no; indy pop purity - yes

I'm tingling. That's how exciting this album is, even on the 20th play. What is it that Russell Crawford, sometime drummer for Josh Pyke, has done? Delivered the dozen slices of pure pop perfection that Floating Aimlessly is made up of. Pop ? Isn't that a dirty word ? No, not in this, the purest form, uplifting, heartening, consoling, and plain joyful.

There's a consistent lush production - these flawless pop gems have been polished to perfection, and it carries the spirit of every good song ever produced by bands like 10CC or artists such as Andrew Gold. There is chrome in abundance. Russell Crawford sounds like 1976. But it is so much more than some flat over serious retro collection made as a sterile homage to a bygone time. First track up - "Overachiever" - has the wit of a Warren Zevon, starting off as a tale of the kid who struggled at school then turned it all around "I learnt three languages, I ran a business selling magnets on the TV, I made a million dollars in the music game, it was a good start", but there's a snag, it's never enough, and anyway "nobody likes an overachiever, you can say what you like but I won't believe you, think I'm wrong, but I'm right". With that sort of arrogance it's hardly surprising.

"Bad Luck" has a fine drum hook coupled with scratchy jangly guitars, conjuring up Jonathan Richman and peppered with deadpanning lines laying out how bad luck can follow you around - "I played chasings with my friends, I chased this girl around the bend, she fell down the stairs, she broke both her legs, she bruised her head". The juxtaposition of such apparent travails at the hand of fate with such an open invitation to air drumming and a blissfully catchy melody is tremendous. Two songs in and it's a wonderful ride so far.

And there's more to come - there are a full dozen perfect tracks here. Straight love songs, like "Lisa", who Russell implores to get up and actually meet him for their date has bizarre intercuts of calliope music, and "Melody" who Russell has figured out too late "it's all about you" - too late because now she's elusive. There's even the cleaned up "Merseybeat of My Love", enlivened by timing changes, and a daring use of the false ending.

Wisely Russell Crawford doesn't neglect the near novelty song, the rock and roll revival of "Shaking" knowingly celebrates a dance craze that is surely a euphemism for something. And then there is "Nigel", the tale of friendless child, shunned by the other kid's for "carrying a name with a curse" which sticks to taking the comic theme seriously - even to the earth shaking bravado of the hope for a better future, when he's old enough to change his name.

"Don't be Upset" sounds like a song you were born knowing, that you've heard so many times on the radio and always listen to all the way through, that you always sing along to at the blissful minor key chorus. It's the song you always play when things get a bit crappy. The closing song of the album, a cover of Andrew Gold's "Thank You For Being A Friend" is not last minute laziness but a genuine "thank-you", as Andrew Gold’s spirit infuses the whole album.

It is throughout a wonderful record. There is no Americana here, but it's still a wonderful album.
- UK Americana


Methinks Sydney's Russell Crawford has had a few listens to Melbourne's
premier guitar pop band, Icecream Hands. And that's a good thing.
Crawford's melodies are buoyant but have a streak of slightly sombre
sophistication like the Hands' Chuck Jenkins. To that he adds some almost
cheesy keyboards in the bouncy "Leave It All Behind", self depreciating
humour in the neo-70's AM radio title track, some melancholy in "Waiting"
and a fair sniff of Neil Finn (and Peter Frampton) in "Soon Enough". His
cover of Patrick Sawyze's "She's Like The Wind" almost convinces you it's
a lost power pop classic. Crawford duels with another power popster,
Michael Carpenter at the Excelsior tonight

Bernard Zuel - SMH
- Sydney Morning Herald


Filling the place of main support, Sydney’s Russell Crawford took to the stage next and further embraced the relaxed atmosphere. Sitting upon two stacked milk crates, simply a man and his keyboard, the beauty of Crawford’s lyrics spoke for itself. Combining his indie/pop songs with entertaining anecdotes and a helping of humour, it was a set that definitely did not go unnoticed. His smooth vocals and near flawless tone and pitch were, to express a cliché, the icing on the cake. - fasterlouder.com 22/01/2010


Discography

EP Hearing all that's heard 2006
EP Bad Luck 2009
LP Floating Aimlessly 2010

Photos

Bio

Russell Crawford is the man floating aimlessly on a sweet potato with a
heart full of classic indie pop! Read on!
Russell started out playing drums and in the last few years has been
recruited to sit on the stool for some high profile names such as Josh
Pyke, Perry Keyes, and Australian pop/rock legends “Cotton, Keays, Morris”
(Darryl Cotton from Zoot, Jim Keays from Masters Apprentice and Russell
Morris).

Our first glimpse of Russell’s songwriting potential was his 2006 release
of “Hearing All That’s Heard” which received extensive radio airplay both
in Australia and overseas. Influential USA label & music retailer Notlame
remarked “Crawford has a gifted voice and a confident knack for writing
dexterous pop songs. A breath of fresh air."

Russell spent the next year promoting and touring the EP in solo mode but
things came to an abrupt halt when “bad luck” struck and Russell fell
victim to a crippling neck injury which put him flat on his back for six
months.

Healthy again in 2008, Russell’s appetite for pop music saw him drafted in
to become hired gun session player for Josh Pyke (fulfilling bass, drums,
guitar and piano duties on various tours and festivals). During this
period he worked night & day to complete his 2nd EP “Bad Luck”. The bad
luck music video was very popular complete with old school animation, hand
drawn with a HB pencil and over 1000 sheets of paper.

The here and now sees Russell releasing his debut Album “Floating
Aimlessly” which was recorded mostly in his home studio, with some
finishing touches and mixing by Michael Carpenter at Love Hz Studios.

“Floating Aimlessly” is a bouncy, biting, piano driven masterpiece. The
kind you would hear if “Ben Folds” jammed with “Neil Finn” with “Elvis
Costello” chaperoning proceedings.

From the opening sprangs of “Overachiever” to the closing vocal harmonies
of “Thank You For Being A Friend” Crawford unashamedly wears his
influences on his sleeves – from the Beatles and Tom Petty through to Ben
Folds and Weezer. The closing track on the album is perhaps the most
obvious indication of Crawford’s breadth of song writing influences in a
sublime cover of an Andrew Gold classic.

With a dash of Hammond and a sprinkling of piano, a heavy dose of drums,
plenty of spiky guitars and sheen of rich vocal harmonies, “Floating
Aimlessly” bares all the hallmarks of a man mastering, and respecting, the
art of producing classic pop songs.

For Crawford, stepping into the limelight as songwriter and front man was
clearly a smart move - nothing aimless about it!

“Floating Aimlessly” is released April 2 on Popboomerang in Australia
and on Popjinx Records in the UK & Europe.