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

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Rebekka - Phoenix – Phoenix was the first release by the German band Rebekka, whose brand of progressive music featured tablas and tamboura besides the standard guitar, flute, sax, keyboards, bass, and percussion. This...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues