Exposé Online banner

Crown Larks — Population
(Bandcamp Already Dead AD249, 2017, CD / LP/ DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-08-26

Population Cover art

Crown Larks is an American band with a style all its own. They take insistent rhythmic patterns reminiscent of German bands (think Can or Neu!) and combine them with woodwinds and brass more akin to free jazz. Vocals are present but not really the focal point, with simple melodies delivered in casual tones and treated with reverb and other effects. There are many variations and tweaks to the basic pattern throughout Population. At times, it resembles a modern version of something like Tago Mago grafted together with Soft Machine’s Third, and a bit of Sonic Youth thrown in for noise appeal. To be fair, the drum parts Bill Miller plays are rarely as simple as Jaki Liebezeit’s, often consisting of busy patterns involving the toms, but they are played with the same hypnotic repetition. The keyboard sounds favor the vintage tones of electric piano, combo organ, and Mellotron, providing a nice contrast to the more noisy modern elements. The guitar tones are sometimes clean, but more often distorted into fuzzy washes that would overpower the music if they weren’t kept reasonably low in the mix (which they are). On both guitars and keyboards, dissonance figures prominently — simple major and minor chords are abandoned in favor of clusters and extended harmonies. Spaced-out effects are used to heighten the trippy mood, and the horns and voices often wander seemingly aimlessly over the driving rhythms. Vocals are split between Jack Bouboushian (guitar) and Lorraine Bailey (keys and woodwinds), with Bouboushian’s tortured tones contrasted with Bailey’s sweeter melodies. Matt Puhr’s bass parts are also quite interesting, with distinctive use of harmonics and slightly off-kilter grooves. Textures are very important in this music, and are distinctive between tracks as well as progressing within each track, and there’s a loose, live feeling to the playing. There really is no other band I can think of that sounds like Crown Larks, and any listener tired of business as usual should check them out.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Crown Larks

More info
http://crownlarks.bandcamp.com/album/population

Latest news

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius - Live Wires – Count me as a supporter of the proposition that the world needs more hot electric violinists playing jazz-rock fusion. Jean-Luc Ponty has moved on to other things, and someone has to take up the...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues