Crown Larks — Blood Dancer
(Already Dead/Spacelung/Landb, 2015, CD/LP/DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2015-05-27You know how some bands sound pretty much the same on every track? While there’s something to be said for consistency, too much of it is definitely a bad thing. Crown Larks have no problem in this respect: there does seem to be a central core that could be called their “style,” but around and above that is an impressive amount of variation. Blood Dancer is their full length debut, and it presents a strong progression from their previous EP, Catalytic Conversion (2013). Fans of classic krautrock will hear some influences in the sections where a simple drum pattern backs a loose groove with a droning psychedelic feel, and the addition of some jazzy horns over the top brings to mind Missus Beastly or Xhol Caravan. Instead of trying to grab the listener right out of the gate, the album starts out boldly with the midtempo drone of “Gambian Blue Wave,” a subtle tune that works its way into the consciousness, featuring electric piano, quietly driving drums, and saxes and brass providing the real wild card; vocals are dreamy and echoing, with multiple parts interlocking. “The Timebound Bloos” speeds up the tempo a bit for a more energetic variant on the same sonic space, adding a B section that hits some varying chords and provides a nice change from the droning. On track 4, we get another change: “Fog, Doves” spotlights female vocals. The other tracks work admirably as well, with some nice organ work on “Blood Mirage,” and the long slow buildup of “Overgrown,” which finishes the album up in cathartic fashion. Crown Larks have assembled a fascinating sound, stitched together from pieces of krautock, Sonic Youth, and early Pink Floyd, along with a heap of their own ideas. Highly recommended.
Related artist(s): Crown Larks
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more