Album Review: Crown Lands – Crown Lands
“We joke around, what if the White Stripes covered Rush?” says guitarist, bassist and keyboardist Kevin Comeau, one half of new Canadian rising force Crown Lands. Frankly, it’s hard to argue with the assessment. Pretty much every duo gets compared to the White Stripes anyway, but there’s certainly a dose of Jack White swagger to the fuzzy edges of opener Spit It Out and the hip-shake and hand-clap groove of Leadfoot.
Howlin’ Back gets even dirtier, evoking the spit and grit of pre-MTV ZZ Top, but all this bluesy rock flex turns into something more expansive and grandiose, especially in the latter half of the album. The other as-yet unmentioned presence looming over Crown Lands is Led Zeppelin. Unlike other latterday devotees, however, they don’t evoke Zep in their full-on thunderous rock configuration, but rather the more intricate folk-tinged mysticism, which filters through on the textured Forest Song.
You’re unlikely to catch vocalist and drummer Cody Bowles singing about squeezing his lemon ‘til the juice runs down his leg. “I don’t need any more ‘Hey Mamas’ in my life,” says Kevin, and these are songs with a little more depth than the primal urge fixation of most proto-hard rock. End Of The Road, for example, deals with the Highway Of Tears, an infamous stretch of road in North British Columbia where a lot of Indigenous women go missing with very little done about it. It gives an extra sense of intelligence and weight that sets this band apart.
This, then, is Crown Lands. A lot of familiar musical motifs blended into something fresh and distinctive, delivered with a combination of indignation, intelligence and forest-dwelling spirituality. It’s also a hell of a debut.
For Fan Of: Greta Van Fleet, The White Stripes, Coheed & Cambria
Crown Lands is released on August 14 via Universal Music Canada.
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