CROWN LARKS - Population

Crown Larks - Population

10 songs
44:41 minutes
***** ****
Already Dead / Satellite


Every two years, we get a new sign of life from Chicago based band Crown Larks, and the good thing is, their records are getting longer with every release. After an EP in 2013 and a longplayer in 2015, they are back in 2017 with their sophomore album Population. Crown Larks have shrunk back to being a quartet, but they still employ the services of many guest musicians, in the studio and live on stage.

Like the two times before, it is still hard to define the bandís sound. You canít just claim they are rock or jazz or avant, because they borrow from all kinds of genres, throw it in the blender, and scramble it in the highest possible setting. This might this time even be truer than before. Although the albumís ten tracks have rather normal lengths, that is already the only normal thing about them. With an instrumentarium comprising keyboards, alto saxophone, flute, synth bass, guitar, organ, bass, drums and percussion and guest adding synthesizers, baritone and alto saxophone, handclaps, trumpet and table, you should already get an idea of how colourful their music is. I still hear the early psychedelic days of Soft Machine circa 1969, with a healthy dose of free jazz, and then moving on into the hypnotic kraut rock of the Seventies ŗ la Faust and Neu!, and onwards to the late Seventies no wave movement, and then some early Eighties noise rock ŗ la Sonic Youth, and maybe even a hint of Nineties noise rock, but the latter being only a pinch, a last concession to the modern age. And yet, despite all those ancient ingredients, Crown Larks donít sound dated, but rather like a fresh discovery from a time long past. They combine these different elements without hesitations, as if it were the most normal thing to do. The vocals, shared between Jack Bouboushian and Lorraine Bailey, add further coloration to the bandís incredibly vast sound.

As I mentioned before, Crown Larks still donít write your typical pop or rock songs, but rather like to venture into unknown territory, playing the weirdest instruments together and suddenly erupting into something like structure, just to pull it apart again the next moment. This makes Population not really an easy listening album, but in times where most bands settle for business as usual, it is extremely rewarding to make your way through the polyphonic sound of these crazy Chicago people. Population sounds as if it were recorded in a smoky jazz basement in the less reputable part of town, and has been released on CD, vinyl, cassette tape and digitally. The digital download is pay-what-you-want, but do give them some dollars, because their effort is really worth your support.

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