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Lost Crowns - Every Night Something Happens CD (album) cover


Lost Crowns



3.98 | 124 ratings

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5 stars "Lost Crowns" is a new RIO/Avant Prog supergroup who has just released their debut album, "Every Night Something Happens", in January 2019. There are members from several other bands here including Scritti Politti, Stars in Battledress, North Sea Radio Orchestra and others. This album was highly anticipated in the UK and has been getting some glowing reviews. The music is quite dense and all the instruments are involved throughout the album in much the same manner that Frank Zappa's most complex music was. But, the sound is quite unique and more consistently dense. The members basically act as a mini-orchestra featuring both standard instruments and others that are more unique like a recorder, harmonium, hand bells, saw, and so on. All of the songs are written by Richard Larcombe who is also lead vocalist and guitarist.

"Housemaid's Knees" starts off the oddness with a drone and a guitar playing a somewhat celtic vibe. Right away you know you are in for something strange, unique and a lot of fun. When the quirky vocals start, the strangeness only gets better, and if you thought you were going to settle in to any single style, you just as well forget about it. Complex is definitely the right word as nothing is standard at all. The melody goes everywhere, and you think there really is nothing thematic about it, but there is, it just takes time to find it. I love the sound as you get a nice, retro sound when the instrumental break comes along and the keys tie everything together for a while, but it all gets frayed apart by the end. This is quite an impressive 10 minute opener that will definitely get your attention. You won't come out of it whistling any melodies at first, but you might after several listens, but people will look at you strangely. Besides, who whistles nowadays anyway?

The shortest track, named "Lost Crowns", comes next, and has the structure of a "Kayo Dot" track, but is much too bright with a folk vibe to it to sound like them. It's the flute against the complex vocal melody that reminds me of them. Later there are two different meters playing against each other before the vocals come back. "Sound as Colour" comes next. The vocals are sung with a melody full of running quarter and eighth notes jumping every which way without hardly a break for a breath, and harmonies actually come in later proving that these are not just random notes. Again, the melody is playing against a foundation set in a different meter. At 5 minutes, there is a change of direction as the bass takes over the melody line while keys embellish around it and a screeching guitar plays in the background. If you think of this song as an instrumental, then you would definitely hear the similarities with FZ's more complex compositions as the techniques are much the same. There is nothing wrong with that because there are not many musicians that can write in this style.

"Midas X-ray" has the vocals and the band playing the melody more in tandem, and this is very difficult considering the complexity of it all. Don't worry, it's not all in tandem as there is plenty of embellishment in the instruments, but the difference here is that you don't have competing meters like in previous tracks. The clarinet and bassoon play the melody in dissonant harmony for a cool effect at the last part of the track. "She Saved Me" has a steady walking rhythm and bass, but everything else is completely off in another universe all together. And you get harmony again in another complex melody line. Impressive! "Dandy Doesn't Know" has more of an acoustic vibe to it with piano and acoustic guitar with vocals with a more laid back feel. The piano, at times, follow the vocal melody while at other times chimes follow allowing the piano to go off elsewhere. It's a nice soft track that is still complex, but with less involvement, so it's a good break for dynamic purposes. Later, as things remain pastoral, you get counterpoint melodies playing together.

"Let Loving Her Be Everything" returns to complexity and a heavier sound. Vocal harmonies are intriguing as the are more dissonant now, but following the melody at a strange interval. Again, there are a lot of musical layers here with vocals, guitars, bassoons, flutes, synths, percussion all working oddly together in a "Henry Cow Out on the Farm" kind of a way, but with vocals. It has the neo-jazz feel with a folk undertone. There is more in tandem showing off later in lower registers. "The Star of My Heart" begins with crashing cymbals before another complex vocal melody starts. Some instruments follow the vocal melody while others play in another meter with the percussion. There are sections with a more subdued and echo effect where things quiet down a bit, but all the while, synths provide fluttery effects around everything. The sax is also featured in the track.

January 2019 has been a huge month for new releases as far as quantity goes, and this album is another big stand-out from all of the new releases. This is definitely one of the top releases so far this year and completely deserves the high praise it has been receiving. Lovers of Henry Cow, the more complex Frank Zappa and Kayo Dot will love the complexity of these tracks. The music is dense, but not in a wall-of-sound kind of a way, but more in an "orchestral" way where every instrument can be heard. This album will definitely be in the running for the best of 2019, even this early in the game.

TCat | 5/5 |


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