Davey MacManus (vocals/guitar) began writing and performing in 1995 while a student at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. After working with several musicians and artists he formed the Crocketts, settling on the line-up of MacManus, Daniel Harris (guitar), Richard Carter (bass), and Owen Hopkin (drums), all fellow students. Having built up a loyal fanbase owing to frequent gigs around the Aberystwyth area, the band signed to Blue Dog Records, part of V2. An EP and several singles followed, with favourable write-ups in the UK music press helping to build their reputation. Their album debut, We May Be Skinny And Wirey, arrived in September 1998. Loud, distorted guitars, blending rock, pop and punk, with echoes of Pixies and early Idlewild were present on this fun-packed, highly original record.
The follow-up was released in April 2000, by which time the band had acquired a significant following, both in the UK and USA (despite their records only being available on import). The Great Brain Robbery was a more radio-friendly affair, featuring tuneful songs such as ‘Chicken Vs Macho’, and their most successful single, ‘1939 Returning’. MacManus had clearly evolved as a songwriter, with clever, canny lyrics ranging in subject from friends and everyday life, to human mortality and our failings as a race. The band found themselves without a label in 2001, falling victim to a programme of rationalisation that saw nearly half of V2’s artists dropped in the wake of their sale to EMI Records. They broke up in 2002, with MacManus and drummer Hopkin going on to form the Crimea.