|FORMED: 1988, Portsmouth, England
Cranes were one of the major trance-pop/shoegazing groups of the early '90s, combining ethereal vocals and melodies with loud, droning guitars. Cranes were formed by brother and sister Jim (drums) and Alison Shaw (vocals) in 1988 in Portsmouth, England; guitarist Mark Francombe and bassist Matt Cope joined the band two years later. The group independently released their first album, Fuse, on cassette in 1990; a small local label released Self Non Self the same year to good reviews. Both sets of music led to a record contract with Dedicated, an English record label. Later that year, they released their first EP for the label, Inescapable, which earned them a lot of attention, including a Melody Maker cover story; a second EP, Espero, also earned positive reviews, including a Melody Maker Single of the Week.
The following year, the band released their first album, Wings of Joy, which received favorable reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as earning the band a sizable cult following, including The Cure's Robert Smith; Smith picked Cranes to open for The Cure on their 1992 world tour, which earned them a larger audience. Forever, the group's second album, was released in 1993. It expanded their cult slightly, yet 1994's Loved found the band in a holding pattern, commercially. After releasing the limited edition Tragedy of Orestes and Electra in late 1996, the Cranes returned with Population 4 which was greeted with mixed reviews and found the group's cult shrinking.
Self Non Self followed the next year, but then the group took a few years off to rethink their musical direction. Future Songs, released in 2001, is a departure from their former material and step toward a dream pop sound. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide