02.18.95 - Deep Ellum Live - Dallas, TX - w/ The Cranes

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FRIDAY, FEB 17 1995

Two brooding bands lighten up a little.

When it comes to Cranes and Idaho, the pair of brooding bands performing together Saturday night, terms like “crunch” and even “upbeat” are relative.

Cranes may be from England and Idaho from Los Angeles, but the two indie-rock bands have always been rather... down. However, both co-incidentally added a bit of lively grit to their new releases: Cranes’ Loved and Idaho’s >i>This Way Out. Idaho injected some slacker texture while Cranes’ funereal sound has the faintest hint of a bite.

“There are crunchy parts,” says vocalist Alison Shaw—perhaps the only singer in the world whose voice could be described as both perky and tragic. “I think the songs changed a bit from our last album Wings of Joy, there’s more of a forward motion, a momentum.”

She and her brother James, the nucleus of Cranes, built the band on their shared obsession with beautiful, morbid bands like Joy Division. Cranes heartbreakingly wistful sound caught the ear of Robert Smith and the Cure, who invited Cranes to join their summer ‘92.

Ms. Shaw and her band mates loved touring the southwest.

“All the hot places, Arizona, Santa Fe, anywhere that it was incredibly hot, we loved,” she says, calling from her hotel room on a chilly day in New York. “It’s so different from England. I remember the day we were in Dallas, you could barely walk on the street”

Cranes braved the heat to visit the site ofJohn F. Kennedy’s assassination, where they met a local “entrepreneur.”

“The guys in the band were obsessed with the whole JFK thing, so we went to the grassy knoll, and this guy said he was the guide,” she says. “He said he was there on the very day. He was pointing out all the points of view. We knew he was just a guy. But the guys in the band all gave him $10 anyway.”

— Teresa Gubbins

DETAILS: Cranes and Idaho perform Saturday at 8p.m. at Deep Ellum Live, 2727 Canton St. $8. Call Ticketmaster, 373-8000 or metro 647-5700.