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Particles & Waves

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Album Review

Cranes continual refining and reworking of their sound over the years has become a hallmark — while Alison Shaw's distinct, childlike vocals remain an immediate calling card — the music she and her brother Jim create finds new shapes and paths. In that regard, Particles & Waves is both a logical continuation from Future Songs, the album that reestablished them as a working band, and its own lovely, mysterious, self-contained effort. The sense that Alison and Jim Shaw's interest here lies in moody electronic music as much as guitar-based efforts has only grown, and often the combinations of the two sides make for the best results. "K56" has both a brisk, almost jangle pop sound to it, and a layering of soft chimes and tones. But it's the almost mantra-like way that they work with electronic melodies — an extension of their seemingly simple but powerful obsessive work from earlier — that gives Particles & Waves its distinct feeling. Everything from Brian Eno's late-'70s work to later avatars like Aphex Twin can be heard in moments like the loops on "Avenue A" and the swirling high piano part of "Astronauts." Where the air of the band's earlier work comes in strongest is more by way of contemplative suggestion — as in the slow, steady drums and low bass on "Here Comes the Snow," and in the sparkle and shimmer on "Far from the City." Perhaps the most surprising song is "Every Town" — due not only to its downright gentle electric guitar chime (it's probably the warmest song the band's ever done) but to the identity of the singer, Jim Shaw. Hearing his raspy, slightly hurt voice instead of Alison's instantly recognizable singing is quite literally a bit of a shock, but it shows again that Cranes do still have the ability to surprise and try something unexpected, and have it work beautifully. [This version of the release includes a bonus DVD.]

Customer Reviews

The Cranes....enchant me again

Yet another amazing release of new studio material from The Cranes.This Cd is another chapter in the beautiful and ever evolving Cranes sound. Allison Shaw's vocals touch your heart and this time John Shaw lends his singing talents to the mix.Truly amazing release by a truly amazing band.


How cool is it that the Cranes did an album with numerous physics themes? And if that wasn't enough, the music is great too. Every track is a memorable little gem, having its own weird signature. They traverse the entire range of styles from beautiful to poignant to catchy to creepy and still make each song their own. Why they were never more successful I'll never understand, as Alison Shaw's voice is just perfection and their songs are audio magic.

Thank You Kate Winslet!

For You Commerical! Is It Wasen't For That American Express Commerical I Wouldn't Find Out Of This Band!.<3


Formed: 1988 in Portsmouth, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Cranes were one of the major trance-pop/shoegaze groups of the early '90s, combining ethereal vocals and melodies with loud, droning guitars. Cranes were formed by brother and sister Jim (drums) and Alison Shaw (vocals) in 1988 in Portsmouth, England; guitarist Mark Francombe and bassist Matt Cope joined the band two years later. The group independently released its first album, Fuse, on cassette in 1990; a small local label released Self-Non-Self the same year to good reviews. Both sets of music...
Full Bio
Particles & Waves, Cranes
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Customer Ratings


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