Record Reviews

Blurt –
Transmit/Receive EP
(8-Track Mind)

After three well-received full-lengths (the last one being 2009’s Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You) transplanted Texan (originally from the U.K.) Crewe and her band of thieves (which includes ex-GBV Doug Gillard on guitar, George Duron on drums and Matt Babb on bass…Gillard also co-wrote 4 of the 5 songs) offer up 5 winning songs here on what may be her finest release yet. In this day and age of bands relying on gimmicks to gain credibility, well, this isn’t gimmicky stuff here, Crewe/Gillard get by simply on strong songs (the way it should be).

Opening cut “Make Me Stay” opens with a circular guitar riff that turns chunky about a minute in and is backed by a solid, driving rhythm section and some surprising backing vocals. I still think my favorite part is when Crewe says “Settle down” but with that Brit accent settle becomes set-uhl (gets me every time). “Punk Rock Kid” has more of the jagged guitar, lots of whoah-oh-oh’s until a middle part kicks in and there’s some (gulp….ready for it) reggae-ish guitar that totally works! “Living Like You’ve Got Forever” is the finest cut here, all four minutes of it with again the mixture of sweet n’ sour guitar, dreamy backing vocals and a rhythm section that seem to punctuate everything with some extra oomph. Of the final two tracks, “Back Again” slows it down and “It’s Only Love” grinds it out.

I’d call this stuff power pop if I didn’t think I’d receive some nasty hate mail so we’ll just say all rock fans take note.


PowerPop Overdose

Aug 21st, 2011
Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves – Transmit​/​Receive

Austin Texas based Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves have done it again. Transmit​/​Receive is everything a Power Pop album should be, winning hooks and crunchy guitars that compliment electrifying vocals and smart songwriting. The energy and impact of the music is felt full force starting with “Make Me Stay” and continuing through this short but powerful EP. There is no filler here. Transmit​/​Receive is an instant party – just pop it in and turn it up, and enjoy it! -Curty Ray, PPO

Aug 20th, 2011
Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves “Transmit/Receive” EP

Even power pop legend Tommy Keene compared Sally Crewe to female rockers Chrissie Hynde and Polly Harvey. The comparison is quite accurate, as her vocals are powerful and very melodic, and the opener “Make Me Stay” is a riff heavy classic. Crewe is based in Austin, but she grew up in Yorkshire and her influences cling to the classic guitar bands of the 80′s. A real standout here is “Punk Rock Kid” with it’s layered chords and punchy beat. You will also hear a little Pat Benatar or The Motels in compositions like “Living Like You’ve Got Forever.” No filler tunes in this short 5 song EP, and it shows Sally can rock with the big boys with the big riffs. I look forward to visiting her debut album Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You for further enjoyment.


From The Desk Of Tommy Keene: Sally Crewe

From The Desk Of Tommy Keene: Sally Crewe

February 20, 2009

Tommy Keene
has been playing guitar hero for more than a quarter-century, both on his power-pop solo albums (his latest is In The Late Bright, out this week) and as a sideman for Robert Pollard and Paul Westerberg. Keene, apparently weary of all the critical acclaim, agreed to dole out some of his own praise. He’s guest editing magnetmagazine. com this week and compiled a mix tape for us with a free mp3.

As I was bumming around SXSW in 2008, I was reintroduced to Sally Crewe, whom I’d met a couple of times over the years, as she was married to a friend of mine. Sally and I and a bunch of others ended up one night at a karaoke place on the outskirts of Austin; there was a party going on, complete with people drunkenly singing along to Iron Maiden songs. Sally invited us to hear her group, the Sudden Moves, play the next afternoon at a party away from the maddening throng of festival-goers. What immediately struck me about her was that she was cute and feminine but looked great holding a guitar, and she could really rock. I’m a bit of a closet rock misogynist—sometimes girls with guitars just look like they’re uncomfortable—but Sally reminded me of great female rockers like Chrissie Hynde and Polly Harvey. After the show, she was saying how they had a European tour coming up in the fall opening for the Wedding Present and their present bass player refused to travel. I blurted out, “I’ll do it,” and Sally said, “OK, you’re on!” So began my career as a bass player, although I’ve been playing bass a lot lately, especially on my last couple of records. We did three shows in Scotland and four in England and had a blast, but we suffered a little bit from Opening Act Syndrome; the Wedding Present’s punters liked to show up quite late.

Sally’s songs are melodic, punchy and sometimes quite short. I’m very envious of that, as it’s really difficult sometimes to get everything in that you want in under two minutes. But she delivers. And, most importantly, they rock. Pick up her new record, Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, and tell ‘em Tommy sent you.



PopMatters review

Sally Crewe & the Sudden Moves: Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You

By Alan Brown 12 February 2009

Cars and boys, the primary lyrical interests (read obsessions) that fueled the staccato post-punk engine of singer/guitarist Sally Crewe’s two previous long players, Drive It Like You Stole It (2003) and Shortly After Take-Off (2005), are still in evidence on Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You. This time around, however, relationships take a front seat, while the automobile is used less as a metaphor for love than an escape pod from life’s troubles. One notable exception is Crewe’s wonderful ode to her Lotus Elise on “Call the Police”.  Backed by her ever-changing band the Sudden Moves, which consists here of George Duron on drums and bassist Matt Baab (since replaced by Tommy Keene), Crewe, the Austin-based ex-pat from Yorkshire, has delivered another infectious blast of streamlined indie-pop that brings to mind the cool swagger of early Joe Jackson. Jagged guitar and a skanking stop-start rhythm section provide the foundation for Crewe’s whip-smart lyrics such as the catchy lovelorn lines found on “Magnet” (“You’re like a magnet / I’m just a little paper clip”), one of the albums many highlights. Great stuff!

Unblinking Ear review

Money Well Spent: Sally Crewe and Volcano Suns

There are two (three, if you want to get technical) good reasons for you to head to ye olde record shoppe today.

The first is Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You, the latest record from Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves. As I’m sure you know, Sally and her ever-fluctuating backing band have already released one of the decade’s best albums with their debut, 2003’s Drive It Like You Stole It. Wait… you didn’t know that? Well, you really should since Sally is one of the finest authors of pop music around right now. Her songs are pretty much everything one could want from a pop tune: direct and immediately affecting, but displaying a depth that becomes apparent on repeated listens. Subject matter rarely strays from matters of the heart, which is a pop music staple to be sure. It’s a tribute to Sally’s craft that her take on love and romance never ventures into trite or drippy territory. I can probably count the number of songwriters who pull the above off on a regular basis using both hands (and maye a toe.) In other words, Sally’s breathing some rather rarefied air. Her skills as a tunesmith have earned her fans like Spoon’s Brit Daniel and Jim Eno (both of whom appear on Drive It) and power pop-legend Tommy Keene (who will occasionally take a break from his legendary status to be the Sudden Moves’ bassist.) I know that’s an impressive group of pals but frankly, her material is even more impressive.

Below is the video for “English Medicine.” Get on board this train now, people.

– Paul Bruno

‘Monday Featured Artist’ at PowerPop Overdose

Monday, January 26, 2009 at 3:00PM

Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves
– Catchy hooks and harmonies dominate Crewe’s work and give us a decidedly modern approach to New Wave. Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves have just wrapped up a UK tour supporting The Wedding Present. Their latest release Your Nearest Exit May Be Behind You is a New-wave tinged power pop album that would sound great at home , work or just sitting in traffic.

CMJ review


Sally Crewe’s 2003 debut, Drive It Like You Stole It, was a charming underdog of an album, but the prominent role of stateside pals Britt Daniel and Jim Eno left some wondering how heavily its pop smarts were Spoon-fed. The Yorkshire native has since relocated to Spoon’s Austin stomping grounds, recast the Sudden Moves as an autonomous combo, and, based on these results, proven that props were due to Crewe rather than her crew. Shortly After Take-Off’s 13 tracks, built on Crewe’s taut, spiky riffs—each clock in around two minutes—are a tad less DIY than Drive It, but no less economical. Bassist Rhodri Marsden turbocharges several with sugary-sweet backing vocals, reinforcing an early new wave vibe (think early Cars with less keyboard) not as a fashion statement, but as a means to no-bullshit songcraft. Crewe’s auto jones carries over from Drive It, as evidenced by standouts “My Heart’s A Motorway” and “Good Morning, Aston Martin,” but her obsessions now extend to the beginnings and ends of relationships. She pins the euphoria of early infatuation on “(Don’t Let Me) Talk About the Weather” (the 3:13 running time seems downright epic) with the savvy line “I wanna spend all day with you. Don’t care about the night.” Pure high-octane!

– Glen Sarvady

Outside Left review

These are songs that you hear wedged in between trendy obtuse indie fodder on your local college outpost that make you sigh in relief from all that artiness and bad poetry

Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves
Shortly After Take-Off

Last night, I watched the latest episode of the now-lackluster Six Feet Under (what happened HBO? I had so much riding on you. You are going to drive me to reading, you know that, right?) and its only saving grace, the only point where I got a glimpse of complexities of love they used to mine with such gleeful and sick abandon, was the use of The Pretenders’ “Back on the Chain Gang” over the closing credits. In that snippet there was more love and loss and pathos and everything than in the whole first two episodes of this season. And just about anything else. I love the Pretenders.

Which is an unfair way to start a review of a female fronted rock band, comparing them to The Pretenders, since, at this moment in my mind, no band is up for it. Plus it’s a sexist cop-out to compare them just on the fact that the lead singer of both groups have girl parts instead of boy parts. So forget I said anything. Sally Crewe and the Sudden Moves is a great little rock band I had the distinct pleasure of seeing perform live a few weeks back when they opened for Spoon. No punk caterwaul, no reliance of cutesy girlisms like that Lolita-meets-Snuggle Bear voice or a faux torch drone, Sally and her crew deliver great straight-up rock songs about love, leaving, and particularly – cars.

Their first self-titled album surpassed Elastica (a female fronted competitor that they soundly trounce) and even the Cars, whose classic new-wave rock sound they resemble, in car songs. Here on Shortly After Takeoff, the logical single for the record “Good Morning, Aston Martin” keeps the checkered flag flying while the excellent “Rear View Mirror” makes a sweet beautiful relationship-as-race analogy, with that new wave staccato rhythm guitar engine rumbling in the forefront, and I won’t bring up early Blondie as a reference either, dammit.

These are songs that you hear wedged in between trendy obtuse indie fodder on your local college outpost that make you sigh in relief from all that artiness and bad poetry. Sally’s voice – she’s neither diva, girl-child nor crone defying the usual categories that a woman is usually to fall into this rock world – is straightforward and upbeat, and would sound best banging out of your car stereo with the windows down. Some other pop gems on this great little hubcap are the jaunty “Game Over” and the stomper “My Heart’s a Motorway” temporarily moving her heart from behind the wheel to the asphalt. But really, there is nary a bad song in the lot. Chalk this up in the tradition of great summer albums like De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising and The Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication and dammit, I was also going to say the Breeders’ Last Splash, but no- I won’t go there.

– Alex V. Cook

Seattle Weekly review
Unsettling Down

Sally Crewe and Wide Right’s Leah Archibald face the uncertain future.

By Keith Harris Wednesday, Jun 8 2005

This just in: Grown-ups can rock and roll. Yeah, I know, you’re all like, thanks for the Downing Street Memo of rock crit, boy genius; that scoop’s so backdated, those of us in the know have grown too cynical to even convince disbelievers. But let’s split some gray hairs: For every Neil Young flickering with ornery abandon between burn and fade, there’s an AARP-load of rockers who rock less than rockingly. Some nonkids with guitars soberly exchange the transcendent drive of their youth for a more reasonable adult pacing and the nuances of musicianship. Others refuse to yield their sense of invulnerability, fronting like they can indefinitely prolong the teenage belief that all obstacles exist to be immediately overcome.

The third way betwixt senescence and shamelessness is elusive, largely because few rockers want to acknowledge the self-imposed limitations that are the essence of growing up, those distinct parameters created by specific life choices. No shock that two of the smartest adults re-examining their rock and roll prerogatives are women, a gender which, you may have noticed, often lacks the luxury to act other than one’s age. Neither car-loving Brit Sally Crewe nor N.Y.C. rust-belt transplant Leah Archibald is in her dotage—the former just turned 30, though she’s coy enough to write something called “Lying About My Age.” Yet both work from a knowledge of how place defines who we are and how to act that’s suitably grown-up yet never rules out rock values like fun and sex.

The bristly pop of Crewe’s full-length debut, Drive It Like You Stole It, was intense in the taut, small-scale way you’d expect from her backup musicians, the boys from Spoon. “I’ve got everything to lose,” Crewe sang, and on “Got a Car, Got a Job,” she made that “everything” more explicit: “I’ve been thinking about leaving London/I’ve got friends in Austin/That I know/But I got a house and got a dog/Got a car and got a job/Yeah, you know.” Maybe she still does, but last September, Crewe and husband Gerard Cosloy, who also happens to run her label, 12XU, relocated to Austin. On her new disc, Shortly After Take-Off, she’s retained her friskiness and also shored up a tough sense of self. When a beau has the temerity to tell her, “Don’t forget to phone me,” on “Casino,” Crewe shoots back, “I can do anything that I want/When I want/Anything, you know.”

Given the leap of faith behind it, you might expect Crewe’s first album to brim with the intoxication of newfound freedom and possibility. But while the owner of Paul McCartney‘s Aston Martin is still in love with the open road, her impulsive sexuality has smacked into a whole new means of restraint: distance. Texas is a big, broad state, after all, and even Texas is only a small part of the United States. “You’re 20 minutes away/I could be there in 10,” she sings on “Airport Song,” deliberating whether to race out to meet a lover whose flight’s been delayed—a typical dilemma on a disc where human-sized relationships are plunged into vast expanses, and characters must repeatedly leave each other behind.

With a mortgage in Brooklyn, a good job, and two kids, Leah Archibald is not going anywhere. Besides, she’s already made her move; now she imagines an alternate reality in her native Buffalo so lovingly, she could almost trick herself into thinking that staying behind was an option. With Sleeping on the Couch (Poptop), Archibald’s bar band once removed, Wide Right, dedicates itself to this conceptual project even more consciously than on its self-titled debut. “Dishrag” is the siren call of a spouse striving so mightily to make watching football in the garage seem as romantic as “Be My Baby” that it seduces the listener, if perhaps not the singer’s mate. Yet songs like “Laws of Gravity” (working-class life sucks) bring Archibald back to earth, though even here she entrusts her blue-collar strivers with the spark of hope that Springsteen so often denies his these days. In fact, Archibald’s balance between reality (“Royanne” is a mother’s riposte to an opinionated guidance counselor) and fantasy (“Junior High School Dream” details Archibald’s wandering eye) seems the very definition of sustainable rock and roll adulthood.

The most conscious limits that Crewe and Archibald accept are formal—both women lead bands that adhere to pretty strict conventions. But this isn’t Clapton retreating into the womb of the blues, or the Stones rocking the only way they remember how. When Wide Right slam the hell out of Loretta Lynn‘s “The Pill”—not just the giddiest anthem of female emancipation this side of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” but the adultest anthem of female emancipation, period—they’re celebrating the fertile potential that guitar-bass-drums can yield when you commit to its restrictions. As for Crewe, her first order of business after relocating was to form a new version of her band, the Sudden Moves. “When you’re around,” she crows on Shortly After Take-Off, “It’s gonna take a big deal to bring me down.” That’s no declaration of invulnerability—just an acknowledgement of what it’s like to feel well defended by lovers and comrades. After all, Crewe and Archibald have a world of aging ahead of them. They know better than to go it alone.