The Fabulous Artisans Press

“One of those hidden delights that deserves a wider audience” – Sunday Express

“This is timeless, intelligent pop music, aware of and in control of its influences” – PennyBlackMusic

“An island of style in a sea of mediocrity…it is our duty to make these guys record more. God like.” –

“Like digging up a long lost treasure from a quarter of a century ago, it’s a superbly executed exercise in classic, soulful British pop.” – Leonard’s Lair
Stereogram Revue, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, 2/12.2015
Category: Live Reviews
Author: John Clarkson
Date Published: 05/02/2016

The first act on the bill of the evening are the Fabulous Artisans. A recording and writing duo since 2007 featuring Glasgow-based vocalist Neil Crossan and multi-instrumentalist Thoms, the Fabulous Artisans have consisted for their rare gigs of actor and former stand-up comedian Crossan and in recent times of guitarist David Paul and keyboardist Brian Walker. Thoms doesn’t do gigs with the Artisans, preferring to adopt a sort of Brian Wilson role, there in the studio but opting out of playing live with them so that he can focus instead on Stereogram and his main band, the Cathode Ray. Clad in one of the new Stereogram T-shirts that Reekie is selling at the merchandise stall and working also as the compere for the evening, he, in a lovely but surreal moment, proudly introduces his own band. Crossan is a big, burly man with a face that might be described as “lived in”, but has a glorious, rich baritone voice that recalls Scott Walker. Thoms’ piano melodies, re-enacted here by Walker, meanwhile have something of the sublime stateliness of Burt Bacharach and the short set of torch ballads they play tonight are alternately heart-breaking or life-affirming, with ‘These Open Arms’, which the crooning-voiced Crossan dedicates tenderly to his wife, proving especially moving.
Live @ Voodoo Rooms 02.12.15
Loose handlebars Logo
Loose Handlebars, Dec. 15th 2015

It’s easy to get to Edinburgh from my house. Out the front door turn left, first left, fourth on the right and keep going until you run out of M8. But I lost the habit of going to gigs there round about the mid-eighties. Seventy-five miles is a fair distance when it comes to accent and culture. So, I had never heard of The Fabulous Artisans until a few weeks ago when I went to see Glasgow’s finest James King and the Lonewolves (who I hope to tell you more about next year if our editor will allow me the space) headline a revue featuring artists from Stereogram Records (who I’d like to tell you more about next year if our editor will allow me the space).

Anyway, this larger than life man in a dark suit with a voice that swamped even his stature and had such depth it rendered his suit pale, completely took me by surprise. In the best possible way. This was Neil Crossan, the singer in The Fabulous Artisans. Apparently Neil and his writing partner Jeremy Thoms put the band together in 2007 and plucked their name from the Orange Juice catalogue. Despite having bought three albums ion the way in, I tried to buy the Fabs album on the way out. But they don’t have one. Yet.

The only way I can let you hear why I was so impressed – and dropped Roddy Frame off my highlights list – is to guide you towards their downloadable single These Open Arms.
Danny McCahon.

Scottish Sunday Express Logo
“…From Red To Blue” ★★★★✩The Fabulous Artisans (Bendi Records)

Sunday Express, October 2008

“Multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Thoms and singer-actor Neil Crossan don’t look like your archetypal pop stars, but they create a wonderful sound on their debut album.

Sweeping from intelligent pop a la Orange Juice, to lavish numbers delivered with the style of the Divine Comedy or the Associates, it’s one of those hidden delights that deserves a wider audience.

The lovely Sycamore Square and rousing Return are highlights in a belting set by the Glasgow-Edinburgh duo.”

Dave Esson



Wayango logoUndiscovered Gems… April 2009

“The Fabulous Artisans make music that every person should listen to at least once a day. Although you can tell a lot of it is home-made, their ambition, dexterity and the downright quality of the songs overcomes any technical shortcomings.

Echoes of my namesake, Barry, Bacharach and Bowie prevail and they even manage to write songs with good lyrics. Telling tales of aging (Queens Park), summer love (Sycamore Square) or lost love (From Red to Blue), themes that echo across the music fan. Return kicks off proceedings, though, with a rock feel (punk even) and a lyric that details out the writers moral wrestle with the notion of God and the pressure society piles on to accept a belief. BIG THEMES!!

I would heartily recommend this album to anyone that loves good songs, fabulous singing (Crossan is a Scott Walker in the making) and something with a bit of depth. An island of style in a sea of mediocrity….it is our duty to make these guys (Crossan, Vox + Lyrics; Thoms, Songs and instrumentation) record more. God like.”

Review by Scott Walker.



Leonards Lair Logo“…From Red To Blue” – The Fabulous Artisans (Bendi Records)

The Weblog of Leonard’s Lair. November  2008

“Much like Cherry Red Records, Bendi Records are a label who pretend that the last two decades of music never happened. Their roster encompasses the kind of unfashionable artists that known record companies wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. Yet, as is often the case, the music produced can often be delightful. True to form, The Fabulous Artisans make passionate, 80s-styled pop led by a big-voiced singer and kitchen-sink arrangements which belie this small label’s cult concerns.

The romantic title track is certainly a brilliant way to start. Neil Crossan’s rich Scott Walker-meets-Edwyn Collins croon is perfectly matched to Jeremy Thoms’ beautiful arrangements; it sounds like a lost Associates song. Similarly, the slower, reflective likes of ‘Wintertime’ and ‘Queen’s Park’ are rich in both vocals and songwriting prowess. Meanwhile, doleful melodies such as ‘Say Hello To The Summer’ and ‘Self Proclaimed Genius’ certainly wouldn’t seem out of place on one of Collins’ solo records.

Yet other influences are stranger. The busy ‘Like A Saviour’ recalls The Style Council; there’s even a bit of fuzzed-up Bowie for ‘Return (Lord I Can’t)’ whilst the harpsichord and “sha la la” backing vocals employed on ‘Sycamore Square’ can only be put down to the duo’s own delightful quirkiness.

Crossan and Thoms may be relative veterans on the indie music scene, but their talents for perfect pop is of the finest vintage.

Discovering ‘From Red To Blue’ may feel like digging up a long lost treasure from a quarter of a century ago but (much like Thoms’ other project, Skyline) it’s a superbly executed exercise in classic, soulful British pop.”

Album review by Jon Leonard



PennyBlackLOGOThe Fabulous Artisans: “From Red to Blue – Singles Collection” (Bendi Records)

PennyBlackMusic, November  2008

“This is all a bit confusing. An album of singles from a forthcoming album, ‘From Red to Blue’, along with their B-sides, that won’t be on the album. The three singles began to be released over one month, starting with ‘Return (Lord I Can’t)’ on September 15, ‘Sycamore Square’ on September 29 and ‘Say Hello To The Summer’ on October 13.

The album is released two weeks after that. But, you can then buy all the singles and b-sides collected together (which is what I have) at some point in the future. Hmmm. This is all a bit elaborate for an debut. Remember when it was considered bad form to release singles on albums ?

But the songs are good. A collaboration between Scots Neil Crossan and Jeremy Thoms, this is timeless, intelligent pop music, aware of and in control of it’s influences. Crossan launches into ‘Return (Lord I Can’t’), full throated and fully in control as guitars swirl around his strong melodic vocal. A bit of Edwyn Collins and, given the lower register of the singing, Scott Walker, are present in spirit. Crossan, a former actor who in 1981 was in an Oscar winning short film, has a strong, clear voice that enunciates perfectly, though occasionally with a slightly irritating mid-Atlantic twang.

‘Sycamore Square’ is probably the most successful of the singles, a breezy, up-tempo portrait of urban life as told by through regretful recollection. Crossan, again full of gusto, comes in on the first beat, barely takes a breath and gives a performance worth of early Scott Walker. ‘Say Hello to the Summer’ could have been a calculated attempt at the charts, had it not been released in mid-October.

The B-sides, understandably are more playful, both musically and thematically. ‘Mr Misery’ sees a transformation in Crossan’s vocals; suddenly there’s a near Mockney accent singing what could be a Small Faces number, even early, chirpy Bowie. This fluttering around genres continues with ‘Instamatic’ when electronic, 80s pop takes over with cascading synths and a vocal that sounds half Human League, half Pet Shop Boys. This continues with ‘Trust’, which again recalls Phil Oakey’s golden years. Still in a demo format, Queen’s Park, is probably the most promising song here. Just backed by an electric guitar, Crossan delivers a more restrained, downbeat anthem.

While Crossan’s vocals grab you by the lapels and demand your attention, he certainly has an unusual versatility, not far short of mimicry, as well. Thoms who largely wrote the songs, and performs most of the instruments, is obviously the driving force and hugely talented. If the album (not the singles collection you understand) ‘Red to Blue’ is as good as the best of this collection, and it ducks and dives around pop genres a bit less, it could be a great piece of serious, accomplished pop.”

Review by: Anthony Middleton

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