Crywank is the pseudonym for Manchester-based singer-songwriter James Clayton. After releasing his debut album James is Going to Die Soon in 2010, Crywank has gone on to tour with Andrew Jackson Jihad and Bomb! The Music Industry. The rise of Crywank is due to word of mouth through social media and the internet, more specifically 4chan's /mu/, where I was lucky enough to participate in his sophomore album release, Narcissist On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown. Over two years I've listened to James is Going to Die Soon, loving the honesty of the opening track "Welcome To Castle Irwell". The style of music fits with the weather season we're currently in, which is why Narcissist On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown has its review in November, when the late night listener wakes up after the sun goes to sleep.
Posting this album on /mu/ is basically Crywank appealing to his target audience. The sadcore lyrics are clearly the focus to Crywank's output and the fact he's not exactly talented at guitar is irrelevant. He sings: "Indoctrinated into a tribe of the musically unkind, where the pretence of a scene can overrule a fragile mind. Until a box ticking system closes doors to outside. I mean you’ll look pretty cool but a part of you will die," on the fifth track "Care Not For Your Clubnights". There's a sense of depression in the lyrics and Crywank's voice, as he delivers the 'outsider' perspective. His debut album was venting frustration and anger after a break-up. Narcissist On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown is exactly that, a narcissistic artist on the verge of a nervous breakdown, as he sings: "I’ve got tonnes of wasted metaphors across my writing pad, but the only thing I feel honest in expressing is the fact that I am sad," on the second track "Now I'm Sad (Boo Hoo)".
At 21 minutes, this album is hardly a big gulp to swallow. The main bulk of attentive material comes from the lyrics. The short length fits with the album's sad emotions, such as the opening track "Blink" which at 50 seconds is the shortest track on the album. The third track "Little Creep" is a little on the messy side. It's a short track with a decent bridge, but the guitar is all over the place. Nothing quite beats a sad song with a killer opening and a good hook. Crywank is the epitome of intros, he sings: "I was born to be mothered." It's such a simple opening lyric, in a sense that it's spectacularly profound and decisive.
Whether you're a hip-hop sort of guy or a keen shoegaze stargazer, this music should reach out to you. Crywank is the artist between the good, the bad and the ugly. He's the tennis ball in a match, the referee accused of racism and the judge, jury and executioner. "Nostril Tampon" is a perfect example of Crywank's imaginative lyricism, specifically the hook: "Oh mum I know you only wanted boys. Can I feel it through my ball sack? I can feel it in my nose." His closing lyrics are as powerful as his opening lyrics, such as: "I've de-robed your more times with my eyes than you have with your paws," on the seventh track "The Only Way I Could Save Myself Now Is If I Start Firebombing".
The beauty of Crywank's lyricism is his honesty and realism: "And when the chorus kicks in they all sing along, and I watch their mouths fade away while they all get the verses wrong." The longest track (3:04) "It's Ok, I Wouldn’t Remember Me Either", features the most angsty lyrics on the album: "I don’t want to be awake again, I spend my days with my head in my hands. If I go outside I’ll fall apart." If you're a sucker for lyricism, then Crywank is the artist for you. Your mood will depend on how you interpret this album. It's a sad album with sadcore lyrics and very quiet, soft guitar.
There's a small contrast between Narcissist On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown and Crywank's emotional break-up debut album James is Going to Die Soon. Crywank did everything he could with his debut album two years ago; it makes things difficult for his sophomore's stance compared to the debut. On one hand we have a debut album filled of break-up sad songs, and on the other we have a sophomore album filled with sad and depressing songs. Crywank's lyricism reveals his efforts to cope with his depression from his break-up and his anti-right-thinking people personality. Crywank has improved at guitar and the song structures are better. Now it becomes difficult - what can we expect from Crywank next?