Stream: Crown Larks – “Blood Dancer”

More often than not it seems that groups see the opportunity of entering a recording studio as a way to over-indulge. They spend thousands of hours on a single measure, making sure that absolutely every sound has been micro-managed to death. The end result is usually an album that is lifeless, unexciting, and devoid of all musicality.

“Blood Dancer” is very much not one of those albums. What you get from the second that you start it up is an album that slowly comes to life, developing over the course of its seven tracks. It’s pretty apt, then, that the first lyric on album opener “Gambian Blue Wave” is “Watch it unfurl…”  A song that sets the course for the floating, expansive ideas that form the foundation of all those that follow.

Each track finds itself somehow in the various worlds of krautrock, noise and experimental jazz-fusion, with trippy ethereal vocals popping up now and again. The best thing about listening to the album is the way that the band feeds off each other, and develops several different layers of sound slowly, steadily.

A generous mix of bleating horns, distorted guitars feeding back, and a barrage of drums brings us to “The Timebound Bloos,” which finds a strange way of starting a song in the middle, moving directly to a musical freak-out early Sonic Youth would be proud of.  Before long the song locks into a straight forward groove and promptly concludes.

I think that my favorite track is “Blood Mirage.” I have a tendency to fall for songs that have the ability to somehow sound as if they are dragging time backwards; somehow in slow motion and real-time at the exact same time. The way that everything lays so far back in the groove – the Rhodes and drums particularly – just makes you feel like time is moving so much slower. It’s a weird kind of transfixion, and the way that everything clears out toward the middle of the track to lock down a steady (and strictly in time) propulsive krautrock groove brings that meditative type state to a whole other level.

The best way to put it, I think, would be to say that the songs on “Blood Dancer” are a mix of “Dark Side of the Moon,” and “Bitches Brew,” filtered through Can’s “Ege Bamyasi.” And I could go into detail about each of the songs, as they each cover some particularly interesting territory and are worth multiple listens for sure, but I think it would be best to let you explore for yourself. Sit back and listen to the entire album in a sitting, and then start it over and do it again.

The album is available in every format you can think of, including deluxe 150 g vinyl and CD, by Spacelung/Landbreathing Records; and as an imprinted cassette through the Chicago boutique label Already Dead. You can order the album in any format, as well as stream it through the band’s bandcamp page.

Crown Larks are also on tour throughout the midwest, East Coast and even a few dates in Canada. You can check those dates here.