The Empire Strikes Back is usually considered the strongest film of the original Star Wars series. As it turns out, it was also the 2nd film (but now I think it is considered the 5th because of the newer trilogy). The Wrath of Khan is also considered the best of the original Star Trek series and you guessed it – it’s the 2nd film. There have been epic failures in the sequel class of course – The Matrix sequels come to mind (sorry to anyone who enjoyed them. Drop me a line and explain them to me please) – but when a sequel is done right it can reinforce the positive attributes of what came before while building and adding to that foundation. The Cornelius Crane’s new EP follows their critically acclaimed record, E.P. Too. It hits all the right notes, falling into the Empire / Khan category that I talked about earlier.
I’ll be honest – when I found out a new EP was on its way there was a lingering thought in my head – “What if it isn’t as good as the last one?”. A valid question, mind you – the last EP was a masterful mini-record that left the listener breathless and hoping the band hadn’t peaked too quickly (that’s what she said). Fortunately the new record is every bit the equal of the last while also throwing a few curve balls into the mix. The piano sounds throughout remind me of the softer bits from the great Swell Maps. The last time around the band instantly hit the listener with a catchy tune or refrain that you’d be singing along with in no time at all – the 4 new songs on this EP reveal their brilliance after you’ve spent some time with them. Neil Young, The Band, The Sixth Great Lake – these artists all came to mind while listening to this album. So did The Pretty Things, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and The Rutles. A winning combination (just lay off of all that tea, fellas)
walked away from something…(album breakdown)
The Needle and the Gun opens up with a melodic guitar lick that sounds straight off of a record from the 60’s. Low key singing enters the mix before the song builds into a tune that wouldn’t sound out-of-place on the self titled album by The Band from ’69. The percussion on this track is incredible as is the chorus. They Talk in Circles throws a harmonica solo into the mix, layered vocals & nuanced emotion overtaking the listener. Is that anger lurking below the surface during the chorus? Stunning. Silver Tongue of an Actor slows the pace down considerably and features these cutting lyrics: “let no one see / and don’t let them destroy / with the silver tongue of an actor”. Acoustic guitar leads for the first minute or so before the full band joins in. Piano bits throughout the song add a nice texture to the mix. Vocals are spot on (as always). The Difference Between You and Me is an instrumental that starts off as an acoustic lament before kicking it up a notch and riding out the rest of the tune on heavy drums and slightly noisy sound f/x.
What more can I say? This is another stunning record from The Cornelius Crane that is a worthwhile addition to your collection. The label promises a few more releases from the band throughout 2013 including the full length debut. Based on what I’ve heard so far I can’t hardly wait (lame reference to a bad Jennifer Love Hewitt film). The band is on Stereokill Recordings and can also be found on Facebook. The latest release is available from all the major digital retailers for under $5.
Verdict: The Cornelius Crane Strike Back
For Fans of: Neil Young, The Band, Sixth Great Lake, Neil Halstead, Mojave 3, Bob Dylan
- The Needle and the Gun
- They Talk in Circles
- Silver Tongue of an Actor
- The Difference Between You and Me