Taking their name from the machines that transport cargo on the docks of their native Portsmouth the often experimental, occasionally pop but always unique Cranes got their start in the mid 80s. They opened for The Cure (who have a new album out this week) on the "Wish" tour and first came to my attention when the Robert Smith remix of "Jewel" got a modest amount of airplay on Live 105. That song didn't really grab me and I assumed that I had heard the band's best material since Live 105 even played The Cure's b-sides in heavy rotation at the time. A year later the first single from Cranes next album Loved got a couple of spins and proved just how wrong I was. "Shining Road" is an amazing song. Unexpected and effortless it harnesses the groove of the UK's second wave of rave revolution to the best parts of showgaze alt-rock. All discussions of Cranes inevitably lead to the merits of Alison Shaw's singular voice, which is often described as "childlike" even though otherworldly is perhaps more accurate, but there is no denying her voice is the perfect conduit for the wordless emotion conveyed here:
: After some time off in the late 90s Cranes have kept active releasing music on their own label with an album out earlier this year. If you watch American tv you almost certainly are familiar with some of their recent work that was featured in an oft-aired commercial. Keep up with the band at their label's website.