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

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Zero Gravity - Space Does Not Care – Zero Gravity is the vehicle of one Len del Rio, a recent associate from the Nik Turner camp. Del Rio programs a variety of synths, sequencers, drum machines, samples, and other electronics, while...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues