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Cranes (band)

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Genres  Dream pop, Gothic rock
Cranes (band) 1000 images about Cranes on Pinterest Beautiful The o39jays and
Years active  1989–1997, 2000–present
Past members  Mark Francombe Matt Cope Manu Ross
Origin  Portsmouth, United Kingdom (1986)
Albums  Forever, Wings of Joy, Future Songs
Members  Alison Shaw, Matt Cope, Jim Shaw, Paul Smith
Record labels  Arista Records, RCA Records
Similar  JG Thirlwell, Ray Shulman, Clive Davis, Pale Saints, Cocteau Twins

Cranes are a British music group formed in 1989, whose style has been described as "gothic minimalism".



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Formed in 1989 in Portsmouth, England by siblings Alison and Jim Shaw and named after the many mechanical cranes around the city's docks, Cranes are best known for the childlike, high-pitched vocals of lead singer Alison.

Cranes (band) Cranes Archives Strong Island

The band's first release was the self-financed Fuse cassette. They recorded the Self Non Self mini-LP in 1989, which led to them recording their first of two sessions for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show. They moved to the BMG offshoot Dedicated Records in 1990. With the addition of Mark Francombe and Matt Cope (both guitar), they released a series of EPs in 1990 and 1991 that preceded their debut full-length album, Wings of Joy, which reached number 52 on the UK Albums Chart. Following a general softening of their sound, the introduction of pop elements to their music, and a world tour with The Cure in 1992, the band's popularity increased, and peaked with the release of the album Forever (UK No. 40), which contained their biggest hit single, "Jewel" (UK No. 29).

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The band fell silent for a period of approximately four years after the release of Population 4 in 1997, and the subsequent closure of Dedicated, with the original line-up breaking up. In 2000, the Shaws formed a new line-up and began writing music again, and released Future Songs and Particles and Waves on their own label, Dadaphonic. These albums signified a change in the overall style of their music, emphasising its ambient, ethereal qualities. Despite heading in a more electronic direction, however, the band's music continued to revolve around Alison Shaw's distinctive singing. In 2002 the band again supported The Cure, at Hyde Park and several European festivals.

Musical style

Cranes (band) Cranes Lilies YouTube

The band's music has been described as "gothic minimalism", although the band have disputed the "gothic" label. They have also been described as dream pop. In the early 1990s they were briefly included as part of the "shoegazing" movement of the era.

Cranes (band) My Bands MARK FRANCOMBE

“The Cranes have been tagged with more than their share of inaccurate labels over the years, such as "Gothic", "Ethereal" and even "Industrial", but just as often, they are more accurately described as a band with a furiously creative drive which allows even their simplest songs to sound beautifully honest and original.

But as simple as their music seems, the Cranes have always kept things interesting by giving their music an element of edginess and unpredictability. Some of their songs make their point with no more than three notes played repeatedly on a piano, while others rely on screeching, wailing walls of sound provided by guitarists Matt Cope and Mark Francombe, while still others rely on a clever, sometimes surprising combination of the two. All of these elements are complemented perfectly by Shaw's unmistakable vocal style and her brother Jim Shaw's precise and powerful percussion.”
          – Andy Dolan, The Michigan Daily, 1995

Much has been made of Alison Shaw's vocals, with descriptions ranging from "the helium tones of a small child", "baby-doll-voiced", and "a mewling, childish wisp of a voice". One reviewer described the band: "Imagine a small child singing lullabies at the bottom of the well with a background of grinding guitars".


  • Fuse (MC, 1986)
  • Albums

  • Wings of Joy (1991), Dedicated/RCA – UK No. 52
  • Forever (1993), Dedicated/RCA – UK No. 40
  • Loved (1994), Dedicated/Arista
  • La tragédie d'Oreste et Électre(1996), Dedicated/Arista (Limited Edition)
  • Lilies (1995), Dedicated/Arista (Promotional Only)
  • Population 4 (1997), Dedicated/Arista
  • Future Songs (2001), Dadaphonic
  • Particles & Waves (2004), Dadaphonic
  • Cranes (2008), Dadaphonic
  • Singles and EPs

  • Self-Non-Self (1989), Bite Back
  • Inescapable (1990), Dedicated – 4 non-album tracks
  • Espero (1990), Dedicated – 3 non-album tracks
  • Adoration (1991), Dedicated – 2 tracks including a non-album B-side
  • Tomorrow's Tears (1991), Dedicated – 4 tracks including 2 non-album tracks
  • Adrift (1993), Dedicated – 3 tracks including 1 non-album track
  • Jewel (1993), Dedicated/RCA – UK No. 29, 3 different releases with remixes. One of them includes a non-album track
  • Forever Remixes (1993) – 6 remixes of a few tracks from the Forever album
  • Shining Road (1994), Dedicated – UK No. 57, 2 different releases each of them with 4 tracks including 2 (different) non-album tracks
  • Can't Get Free (1997), Dedicated – 5 tracks including 4 non-album tracks
  • Submarine (2002) – 8 remixes of a few tracks from the Future Songs album
  • The Moon City/It's a Beautiful World (7", 2002), Elefant – 2 non-album tracks
  • Compilations & lives

  • EP Collection, Vol. 1 & 2 (1997), Dedicated
  • Live in Italy (2003), Dadaphonic
  • Live at Paradiso 1991 (2007) (for download only)
  • Songs

    Shining RoadLoved · 1994
    Tomorrow's TearsWings of Joy · 1991
    Pale Blue SkyLoved · 1994


    Cranes (band) Wikipedia

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