Catatonia - The Crai EPs 1993/94: For Tinkerbell & Hooked

Catatonia - The Crai EPs 1993/94: For Tinkerbell & Hooked
Release Date:
October 19, 1999
Alternative/Indie Rock, Britpop, Indie Pop
The Crai EPs 1993/94: For Tinkerbell & Hooked

An invaluable history lesson for anybody wishing to explore the origins of what might have been the most distinguished British band of the late '90s, The Crai EPs serves up the songs that were, indeed, the band's output for tiny Welsh label Crai during 1993-1994, the five-song For Tinkerbell and the more economical three-track Hooked. Both reveal a young, untried, but brutally enthusiastic band, ranging in sound and energy across the spectrum. From For Tinkerbell, "Gyda Gwen" is a sweet Celtic melody that looks toward regional folk for its impetus, while "For Tinkerbell" itself has an almost Beatles/White Album feel to it -- no small accomplishment. The stirring "Dimbran" (Welsh for "No Crows") was already a live favorite -- vocalist Cerys Matthews regularly dedicated it to the national soccer team, and the only weak track is, ironically, the best known. A fledgling version of "Sweet Catatonia" is still a few power chords away from the mighty anthem it would ultimately become. Hooked is, overall, a weaker offering -- only "Fall Beside Her" truly stands out, although its gentle bearing utterly defies the band's burgeoning reputation. "Difrycheuld (Snail Ambition)," meanwhile, is an entertaining exercise in bilingualism (French and Welsh, if you must know), while "Hooked" itself might have been better served if the band sounded at all enthusiastic about performing it. To judge Hooked by the standards that Catatonia would soon be setting, however, is unfair -- at the time, both EPs won Single of the Week status in New Musical Express, establishing Catatonia as a band to watch, long before many people had even seen them. And, for once, the advance word was correct.

For Tinkerbell / Cerys Matthews / Mark RobertsCatatonia3:48
New Musical Heights / Cerys MatthewsCatatonia2:51
Dimbran / Cerys MatthewsCatatonia3:26
Sweet Catatonia / Cerys Matthews / Mark RobertsCatatonia3:12
Gyda Gwen/New Mercurial Heights / Cerys MatthewsCatatonia2:51
Hooked / Cerys MatthewsCatatonia3:41
Fall Beside Her / Cerys MatthewsCatatonia3:13
Difrycheulyd (Snail Ambition) / Cerys MatthewsCatatonia3:22

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