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.
Compilation albums have always been a tough sell with me. Typically I hone in on a few acts that grab me – buy everything by those bands, and forget all about the compilation. There have been a few exceptions over the years – the Factory records box set, the Left of the Dial series, and anything associated with the Messthetics DIY series (to name just a few). When I got word that a tribute compilation album in memory of the Paris Angels Simon Worrall was in the works, I had a feeling it’d be a compilation that would sit comfortably on the (digital) shelf with my other favorites – and I was right. The compilation features musicians from Manchester, England from various levels of notoriety. To understand how or why these friends of Big Si (as he was affectionately known) came together to celebrate his life that was cut short far too soon in November of 2011, one must revisit the story of the Paris Angels.
The word “Americana” when applied to music conjures up visions of acoustic guitar, singing with friends around a fire, and an authentic approach to the music and lyrics. All of these things are true – at its best it can incorporate country, folk, bluegrass, and even R&B into the mix. Over the last decade or so a curious thing has taken place – as American indie bands discovered pastoral (think Nick Drake), English indie bands have discovered Americana styled music (think The Band). What happens when the two styles merge? You end up with a band like The Cornelius Crane, who have delivered a masterpiece of a record, E.P. Too.