Crywank – Fist Me ‘Til Your Hand Comes Out My Mouth

A last hoorah if there ever was one.

Crywank are James Clayton and Dan Watson, two anti-folk mad hatters from Manchester. Being self-managed and having virtually no coverage, they’ve made DIY ripples around the world with their sound. They decided sometime last year that they would break up after one last world tour. Said tour has been postponed due to some pandemic whose name escapes me at this moment. More on that from CNN.

In other less pertinent news, a band within idiosyncratic hiatus says its goodbyes with a final album. Crywank clearly wanted to go out with a bang, henceforth, Fist Me ‘Til Your Hand Comes Out My Mouth. A humble title for a humble group of guys. They probably stole it from some cockney sex dungeon, or from James Hetfield’s wet dream journal. The album is way more chaotic and experimental than any Crywank to date, which is why it is the first title of theirs really worth writing about. Before that it was sad acoustic Brit regalia. Now it’s polyrhythmic leprosy music. Still British!

The first eight songs act as one, titled “I Love You But I’ve Chosen Me I-VIII.” It’d be like pairing current indie folk with the spoken passages from Dark Side and putting them over riddling acoustic guitar and symphonic horns, with ever-peddling drum sequences toward a riotous bluff. Once it ends and the latter half of the album begins, you realize how sweet it really was, for it is the beginning of the end, a rude place where there is nothing to cling on to.

This is the first and last introduction of the Jekyll and Hyde dynamic of Crywank. James Clayton has a beautiful semi-spoken modern Brit folk voice. It’s great, but that was all it was until this album, where we hear what Dan Watson, mind freak, brings to the table. Watson’s chaotic vocals break down life experience into a prose of its own, not entirely unlike Don Van Vliet, known commonly as Captain Beefheart. It’s like Watson has only ever heard “Pena” from the great wax figurine Trout Mask Replica, and maybe “Help, I’m a Rock” by Frank Zappa and the Mothers. He was then forced at gunpoint to write songs on black magic mushrooms. The results are purely experimental. They range from Beefheart to early Manchester house music to glue-huff anthems resembling that of Ween’s The Pod. It doubles the interest and versatility of Crywank, and I think it’s the best material on the album. Songs with titles like “Boosep” and “The Yolk That Fell Out” can’t go wrong. It’s refreshing nonetheless in a world where every chart-topper is about munching box.

Fist Me ‘Til Your Hand Comes Out My Mouth