THE CRAVATS

 

 

 

Formed: Redditch, Worcestershire, England, UK

The Cravats

Dark, dense, foreboding, funny and paranoid, The Cravats hailed from Redditch's (near Coventry) and formed in Spring '77. In stark contrast to the prevailing mood, where simplicity and directness was "the thing", they dabbled in complicated song structures, utilising surreal humour to paint a picture of world caving in on itself. With a honking saxophone, weird chord progressions and obtuse sociopolitical lyrics, they were one of a kind, somehow fitting into Small Wonder's roster of pseudo-pop acts (labelmates Punishment of Luxury and Pere Ubu would be fair-ish comparisons). They were also a brilliant band, albeit one generally ignored throughout their career.

Their first single, Gordon, was independently pressed in plain white labels and sold well, and the last few unsold copies were sent to Small Wonder. Pete Stennet hand-stamped these and sold these remaining copies himself.

During their three year stint with the label they issued four superb singles and one magnificent album, and also recorded four Peel Sessions. None of their records sold in huge amounts, although Precinct crept into the Indie Top 40 and In Toytown spent a couple of weeks in the same chart. Its success was possibly due to its high profile producer.

Penny Rimbaud of Crass. Rimbaud remained behind the mixing desk for the great You're Driving Me, and Stennet himself co-produced their final release for the label, Off The Beach. 1982 saw the release of Terminus (on Glass Records) and Rub Me Out (on Crass, again with Rimbaud producing).

The Cravats - Punk Lives #8 - Part 1The Cravats - Punk Lives #8 - Part 2

ABOVE: Punk Lives #8, click on images to make them readable.

A compilation album, The Colossal Tunes Out appeared in 1983, containing a free flexi, the 'DCL Laboratory Series #1 Flexi' DCL stood for 'DadaCravat Laboratories' and was, according to the band's official website, "an umbrella group of sorts D.c.L were not limiting themselves to being one group like The Cravats but a myriad of bands such as..The Babymen, D.c.L Locomotive, and The Very Things who all released stuff. And Mourning Dobermen, Piston Smash who didn't. There was even talk of an as yet unthought of band called Gritty Foreskin". The Very Things were the best known of these side projects, chiefly for their bizarre 'The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes', which was promoted by a lengthy black and white video of stunning strangeness.

As Cravats DCL, they made a short-lived comeback with 1986's The Land Of The Giants 12", and in 2006 recorded a one-off single with Paul Hartnoll of Orbital. The Shend and and Svor Naan reformed the band in 2009 to play at the Rebellion Punk Festival in August 2009, and they continue to gig. They also recorded no less than four Peel Sessions (one per year from 1979 - 1982).

Rob, vocals: We created total confusion. We didn't do two minute guitar thrashes and swear. We wore black evening suits, we had a saxophone played through strange effects, we miked up vacuum cleaners and coffee peculators, we used a theremin, we had cassettes with speech loops which we held up to mike (in the days before sampling). We were spat at a lot and we made people angry because they didn't understand.

DISCOGRAPHY

Subsequent studio albums: Dustbin Of Sound (2017).

Singles / Albums

The Cravats - Gordon The Cravats - The End The Cravats - Precinct The Cravats - In Toytown The Cravats - You're Driving Me
Gordon
(7", 1978)
The End. Spring 1979
(7", 1979)
Precinct
(7", 1980)
In Toytown
(LP, 1980)
You're Driving Me
(7", 1981)
The Cravats - Off The Beach The Cravats - Terminus The Cravats - Rub Me Out The Cravats - The Colossal Tunes Out The Cravats DCL- The Land Of The Giants
Off The Beach
(7", 1981)
Terminus
(7", 1982)
Rub Me Out
(7", 1982)
The Colossal Tunes Out
(LP, 1983)
The Land Of The Giants
(12", as The Cravats DCL, 1986)

Extraneous Releases

The Cravats - A Flux In 3D - Fireman / Divide The Cravats - The Land Of The Giants (The Best Of The Jazz-Punk Colossals)      
Fireman
(7", split with A Flux In 3D
The Land Of The Giants (The Best Of The Jazz-Punk Colossals)
(2xCD, 2006)
     

Bootlegs

The Cravats - The Cravats Out        
The Cravats Out
(CDR)
   

Various Artists

A Reflex Compilation UK LP 1985 (Reflex): Shroud Of New York, Chapter One

1984 And All That... UK Tape 1980s (no label): Rub Me Out

A-Sides (Part Two. 1982-1984) UK CD 1992 (Crass): Rub Me Out

Small Wonder: The Punk Singles Collection UK CD 1994 (Anagram): The End / Precinct / You're Driving Me / Off The Beach

Small Wonder: The Punk Singles Collection Volume Two UK CD 1996 (Anagram): Burning Bridges / Who's In Here With Me / I Am The Dreg

Anti-Capitalism: Anarcho-Punk Compilation Vol. 4 UK CD 2007 (Overground): Xmp

Messthetics #7 UK '78-82 "D.I.Y." Bands: "C" US CDR (Hyped To Death): Situations Vacant

 

Links

THE CRAVATS - Amazing official website

THE VERY THINGS MYSPACE PAGE

TRAKMARX INTERVIEW

 


 

 

 

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