Crown Larks: “Blood Dancer” Review

crown larks blood dancer

Great band dynamics don’t just make themselves. Real cohesion comes from spending hours with bandmates, in practice spaces, on the road, on hundreds of stages in front of hundreds of different crowds.  It’s something I know nothing about as a non-musician. But I feel like it’s something that a non-musician can recognize in bands. And I recognize a great dynamic at work in Chicago’s Crown Larks as the product of such tireless work (they also keep an impressive log of shows played if you want more tangible proof).  It’s that dynamic that is the easiest way to draw direct comparisons to Crown Larks’ music. They certainly don’t sound like anyone else I know of. However that sense of timing, of musical interplay, of marrying a bunch of discordant ideas into something beautiful, is something recognizable in the best bands of all genres.

Long hours of practice, playing, and improvising can also often make for a huge amount of material.  Even great bands can be difficult to engage with if they aren’t adept at the art of the self-edit. And here’s where Crown Larks really shine – in the last four years they have produced only an EP and a single full length record. And while the EP is good, Blood Dancer is easily the bands’ best distillation of their work thus far. The LP is an exercise in restraint – even in the depths of its most violent-sounding psychedelic freakout, when it sounds like the lead singers totally come unhinged, the drummer’s grown octopus arms, and the keyboardist and saxophonist are trying to murder each with sound; even then it sounds like whirlwind that’s been honed to a knife-edge.

The best way for me to convey the sound to you is to encourage you to listen for yourself. Blood Dancer is streamable in its entirety and I highly encourage you to do so. It’s full of punk rock, jazz, drone, noise, and a whole bunch of other spacey shit that is better heard than read. For a quick taste I would suggest the droning doom-jazz of  “The Timebound Bloos,” indie rock cum motorik LSD trip “Blood Mirage,” or the minimalist dreaminess of “Fog, Doves.” And once you have listened to those, you are nearly halfway done with the record so you may as well just go all in.

When you inevitably come to the conclusion that Blood Dancer is great and you think to yourself “hey, I want to hear this band live.” Hold off on getting that Megabus ticket to Chicago.  Crown Larks are on tour this Spring and they just happen to be in the Twin Cities on April 29th and just happen to be playing the Reviler 6.25 year Anniversary Show! (Along with Kill the Vultures, American Cream, and MaLLy). Nice coincidence, eh? You can grab a ticket here or at the door – this will be a not-to-miss night of terrific music.

— Jon

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