Anyone who has had even a vague love of punk music over the last 35 years will know The Cravats or, at least, be aware of their existence.
Championed by John Peel with four sessions, releases on Small Wonder and Crass; the sax-riddled, bass-laden weirdness, the humour, the love of Dada and the infamous Redditch ‘Dustbin of Sound’.
Never mainstream, never hugely popular but always utterly unique they ploughed their own musical furrow in the peripheral vision of the music biz since forming in 1977, which was fine by them.
Those that loved them, loved them to death, those that didn’t, didn’t.
They stopped in the mid-eighties for a cup of tea and it wasn’t until the 2006 release of ‘The Land of The Giants’ double CD compilation on Overground Records that many folk realised what they’d missed.
Co-founder The Shend and original sax-riddler Svor Naan, along with fellow Redditcharian Rampton Garstang on drums, resurrected a live version of the band in 2009 at the bequest of admirers old and new.
Steve Albini’s curated ATP, the final Feeding of The 5000 Crass show, a host of European festivals including 4 years at Rebellion Festival, a Marc Riley BBC6 session and a bunch of selective UK gigs followed to much critical acclaim.
But it is only since the addition, of Viscount Biscuits on guitar and Joe 91 on bass that they have finally decided the ingredients are right for new material and the Jingo Bells / Batter House single is the first offering of this burst of productivity. With a second 7″ already recorded and an LP due for release by the end of 2016, plus a host of upcoming gigs The Cravats are well and truly back.
Still drenched in sax, obliquely angry, raucous and sounding like no other band in existence they have remained faithful to the sound that made them unique. Eccentrically frantic on stage, odd but on the ball on record and definitely not normal, the world needs bands like The Cravats.
For now though, it’ll have to settle for just the one.