Conjuring a dark and visceral post-punk that’s been hardened by years of notoriously rowdy live shows, Crows have amassed a legion of die-hard fans since they formed back in 2015 and cultivated a singular, much-adored presence in the British alternative music scene. Following the release of their debut album on the IDLES-run Bailey Records back in 2019 (a sold-out UK tour with the Bristol heavyweights also followed the album’s release), Crows immediately set to work on its follow-up.
“We started writing the album in the downtime between tours just after releasing Silver Tongues in the Spring of 2019”, Cox recalls: “We were really determined to follow up the album as quickly as possible and keep that ball rolling and we were creatively in a really good place.” By January 2020 they were already back in London’s Fish Factory Studios (the same studio and team with which they made Silver Tongues) tracking what would become the Beware Believers LP. Their debut was a long time coming but this time around Crows had no intention of taking things slow and patiently. The new album was quickly coming along, they were playing to busier and busier crowds and were gearing up for their first trip to the US for SXSW – and then Covid hit.
Not only did the arrival of the pandemic cancel their upcoming shows, including the US run they had planned around SXSW, but it also put recording the new album to a sudden halt. For a band known first and foremost for their live shows, who were also right in the middle of a creative and critical surge, the lockdown-enforced break was initially hard to stomach. However, Cox admits that the album Crows came out with on the other side of lockdown was all the better for it:
“Once we knew Covid was here to stay, we took the first break we’ve taken since we released our first single ‘Pray’ in 2015. Being locked down for three months unable to finish the last bits of the record was very frustrating but it did mean we could come back to the album with fresh ears and make sure it sounded like it should: a true representation of Crows.” Loud, cathartic and abrasive – a quintessential Crows record it certainly is.
“Beware Believers has felt like a marathon, a real endurance test that’s been a long, winding road filled with highs and lows and plenty of twists and turns. The majority of the themes on the album came from what was going on in the world around summer 2019, Covid wasn't in our lives and the biggest impact was Brexit and the madness our government were putting us through. I was reading a lot of J.G. Ballard and Kurt Vonnegut whilst all this craziness was going on around us and it was a weird headspace to get into.”