Crown Lands provide a stripped back, contemplative sound that creates a beautiful contrast to their previous work on new EP Wayward Flyers Vol.1.
Canadian Duo Crown Lands might be rising stars because of their big riffs, brash guitars and energetic live shows, but unbeknownst to many, their quieter side can be just as devastating. New EP Wayward Flyers Vol.1 showcases this more acoustic, intimate sound, showing off a talent in songwriting that’s been championed by the likes of rock stalwarts Jack White and Primus.
Starting with Howlin’ Back Again – a more acoustic, stripped back version of fan favourite Howlin’ Back – the EP begins as it means to go on, by showing off the band’s skill at writing tracks that work just as well in a heavy or intimate setting. With a more distinct bluegrass/country sound, the vibrancy remains as it leads towards a chilled out psychedelia section before the listener is mercilessly thrown back into the fray. Cody Bowles’ vocals are just as big and frivolous as they are in the band’s heavier material, able to bend the track to his will as it pushes forward to its conclusion.
Roving On retracts to a more gentle, folk atmosphere, feeling as if you’re transported to an old English medieval courtroom with a skillfully plucked guitar opening. As this dissipates, a more rhythmic melody enters against a raw and live vibe and high-pitched, whaling vocals. The Witching Hour then provides a gentle solace of peace and solitude that gently builds into a more dexterous place, full of malice and guile. Drums take control, rhythms bounce around and the stars align.
Completely confident in their talents, Crown Lands even throw in a Neil Young cover with Birds. The slightly faster pace than the original manages to give it extra agility that suits Bowles’ vocals, more than living up to the big man. Ending the EP with No Sympathy, we’re given a harmonious finish that once again relies on subtle tones and pleasant melodies with its strength arriving in the chorus as guitar and vocals form an unholy dance of guile and fervour.
Wayward Flyers Vol. 1 is a beautiful EP showing off the subtler talents of a band known for their hard rock sound. For just five tracks it flows extremely well, managing to tie up any loose ends by its conclusion and hitting on some fantastic guitar work and addictive melodies throughout. With their first full-length yet to come and an announcement to be made soon, this is the perfect EP that shows they’re not just a one note band and, in fact, have many strings to their bow.