Dusted Reviews

Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves - Shortly After Take-Off

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves

Album: Shortly After Take-Off

Label: 12XU

Review date: Jul. 12, 2005

If you’ve heard of Sally Crewe, it’s probably for one of two reasons. Her debut, 2003’s Drive It Like You Stole It was performed and produced in conjunction with Britt Daniel and Jim Eno, better known as Spoon. More importantly, the British-born, Austin-based Crewe is the wife of Gerard Cosloy, founder of Matador Records and more recently head honcho of 12XU. These associations inevitably lead to the question of whether or not Crewe is merely a hanger-on or a true talent in her own right. Her new album, Shortly After Take-Off suggests the latter over the former, but the case isn't as overwhelming as she might like.

While she undeniably has a knack for writing a catchy tune, Crewe stays within very narrow musical limits. Stylistically, she sticks invariably to New-Wave influenced power-pop, dominated by muted power chords, ooh-ahh background vocals, and catchy choruses. All 13 tracks on the rather brief (around 30 minutes) Take-off take the same approach, hardly even diverging from a uniform tempo. Spirited as Crewe’s vocals may be, this approach results in an almost mechanical sound, closer to the kind of polished pop the Matrix writes for Liz Phair than to the bubbly energy of early Elvis Costello or the Cars. The album’s sterile production doesn’t help matters any: whereas Drive It Like You Stole It benefited from Daniel and Eno’s dry but snappy production, Shortly After Take-Off sounds overly glossy and flat, void of any ambience and lacking the energy of a live performance.

These shortcomings aside, Crewe still turns in some good tunes: “Airport Song” effortlessly blends new wave guitar rock with '60s soul inflections, and “Good Morning Aston Martin,” is ideal power-pop. Even these strong moments, however, feel somewhat hampered by weak production and stiffness. As a whole, the album feels too clean and precise, too much the product of overdubs and processing and too little the effort of a real live band.

Sally Crewe is certainly capable of making good music. Shortly After Take-Off is not, unfortunately, the best display of her talents. The kinks in Crewe’s sound could be easily smoothed out with some simple changes, but her talent as a songwriter and performer can't be denied.

By Michael Cramer

Other Reviews of Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves

Drive It Like You Stole It

Read More

View all articles by Michael Cramer

Find out more about 12XU

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.