Friday, December 1, 2023
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Cruush – Wishful Thinker Review

It is not Cruush’s fault that their name to unhinged, late-night television-watching journalists, conjures images of a milkshake advert with cats on treadmills. Crusha, the drink which saw cats and accordions meet in a field of cows, which were crushed by the bottle of the same name. Perhaps hoping for Cruush to be anything about those mid-2000s animated bits of nightmare fuel is wishful thinking. What is wishful thinking is their EP, Wishful Thinker. Cruush, not the Crusha cats, who are, as of yet, to release any recorded materials outside of promotional material for discontinued liquids. Anyway, Crusha cats do not have the digits required for shoegaze essentials. Cruush does. Wishful Thinker is that. Five tracks of immediate quality to settle listeners into a hopefully promising future. 

Amber Warren maintains this fine line for Cruush, between shoegaze mutterings and dream pop ambience. Both are guided firmly and with a warmth to the mixing, the production, it makes for a delicate experience, like a blanket draped over someone with their nose in a bowl full of Vicks. Transitioning into Growing Silver, a fool’s errand to attempt to grow metal, but a blissfully aware and well-tempered track. EP releases are a chance for bands to present little touches of work from behind the scenes, to bite a chunk of the listening public and latch onto them, gums and all. Wishful Thinker is a creative tool, a proper bit of quality which features three of the band’s singles from earlier in the year. Its title track may feel as though it is the best of the bunch but Stick in the Mud gives it a run for its money. 

Whining, groaning guitar work on Features keeps it in line with the themes Cruush presents but different enough to signal a shift and tonal check. Wishful Thinker glides on through with a natural blur to its instrumentals, an effective edge which creates perfect little instrumental platforms for crushing lyrical broadness. That much is presented on Features, an immense questioning for the listener as well as that off-record person or presentation which affects the soul so much. Repetitions of “Why are you here?,” toward the end make for a chilling if controlled and respectable end. Wishful Thinker manages to turn their semantic indifference into charged, occasionally drowned-out lyrics, with walls of heavy bass and percussion. Fotis Kalantzis offers much-needed changes in Cruush’s pace, which are frequent enough to mark each song as particularly strong, but sharp enough to maintain focus. 

Cruush, the best thing to come from Manchester since the mid-1980s. It is not until closing track Sombre by the Weekend, where those shoegaze styles are in full focus, that Cruush gets close to that part of their sound. The rest is indie rock blurring into dream pop, and it suits them. Articulate guitar work from Warren and Arthur Boyd turns interesting riffs and articulate playing into tremendously strong pieces of the puzzle that is Cruush. With Ru Cowl and Will Milton squaring themselves off in those ever-needed basslines, Cruush works together with tremendous purpose. Their elements come together and Wishful Thinker presents an incredible, integral example of how groups should come to a place of unity. Striking quality lingers on for this release. Cruush has something special.   

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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