The Hermit Crabs hail from Glasgow, Scotland, and follow the tradition of other bands from the same geographic region being reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura, though their sound is more similar to the latter. They do not just reproduce the sounds of their forebearers, for The Hermit Crabs have their own unique, folky appeal, shying away from brass instrumentation in favor of strings.
The band’s lead singer, Melanie Whittle, has a soft voice that propagates the twee reputation of Glasgow’s music scene. Besides offering vocals and playing rhythm guitar, Whittle is the only permanent member since the band’s founding in 2003.
The history of the Hermit Crabs connects them to Camera Obscura in ways apart from the striking similarity in sound. In 2001 David Skirving left Camera Obscura to form the band California Snow Story in which Whittle was the drummer. Three years later, when California Snow story went on hiatus, Whittle was inspired to found The Hermit Crabs.
The band gained recognition several years ago when their song “Feel Good Factor,” won the prestigious Burnsong competition named after Scottish songwriter and poet Robert Burns, who is perhaps best known for his song “Auld Lang Syne.” “Feel Good Factor” was originally released on an EP of the same title, as well as being revived on their first full album Saw You Dancing, which was released in 2007 by Matinee Records.
Saw You Dancing features ten songs, beginning with the slowly melodic “Tonight,” then picks up pace with the more pop-styled “Goodbye My Friend.” The slow song/fast song trend continues on the album until the song “Bad Timing” is reached, which has an entirely different vibe using what could perhaps be considered a more ‘rock’ than ‘folk’ influence. The Hermit Crabs lyrics have the ability to be intellectually engaging, dropping names like Sartre and Virginia Woolf while still maintaining a strong emotional appeal, one of the best examples of the latter is the final track, “Soul Mate.”
The Hermit Crabs have more recently released their single “Flaxen Haired Boy” through Slumberland records back in 2008. The song appears on Searching for the Now 1 with The Company Presents Roy Moller’s song “Join the Dots” which features the instrumental talents of Belle and Sebastian’s Stevie Jackson. They have also released a second EP through Matinee Recordings entitled Correspondence Course, which is comprised of four tracks: “About You Before,” “Correspondence Course,” “Turn the Clock Back,” and finally “I Don’t Know How.”
All The Hermit Crab’s EP and LPs can be purchased directly from the Matinee Recording’s store, excluding the single “Flaxen Haired Boy” which can be bought from Slumberland Record’s store.
To stay updated with the band, follow them on various social networking sites:
The Hermit Crabs Official Website: http://www.thehermitcrabs.co.uk/
Burnsong Competition Website: http://www.burnsong.org/