Monday, 20 November 2017

Album Premiere: Kingdom of Crows - Despondency

Kingdom of Crows - Despondency



Info: It's just over two years since Dublin's Kingdom of Crow's released debut album The Truth Is The Trip which blew our cotton socks right off, tomorrow, the four-piece's sophomore LP, Despondency, is set to be released and we are very proud to have an exclusive premiere of the album on REMY this evening.

The new album unfurls itself with the gentle, if slightly menacing, soft-rock instrumental of 'The Womb', from the medieval court-like acoustic picking of its intro, the track teeters back from what is to follow, subtle distortion interspersed with orchestral sounds, it's preparation. The third single to be released from the album 'Sycadia' comes next, and it is the wave and nod at The Truth Is The Trip before it turns its back toward their newer sound. Guitarist Stephen Kelly and vocalist and co-songwriter Lucy Earley showing why they were made to collaborate together. A new found exploration of electronic sounds pops and circles Earley's enchanting vocal.

As soon as 'Four Words' starts you are crying out for the drum beat, and you are not left waiting, that pagan and tribal mystique we loved so much on the previous album appears again in a new form. There's a rock steady and swaying rhythm and beat that drifts from sudden punch to caress with ease. 'The Walk' is an interesting proposition, and a pleasant surprise, it has all of the hallmarks of a 90's dance track, and by the midway point feels like a downtempo version of something you might find on The Prodigy's Music for the Jilted Generation, the emphasis on unexpected yet welcome must be stated here. 

Kingdom of Crows - Despondency

On the album's title-track that dance feel is retained and is something we noted upon its release also, that snapping feel to the rhythm and a straight-up killer bass-line. The first single from the album, 'Despondency' is immediately fetching and the roll of the guitar riff keeps the listener well within its grip for the entire duration, needless to say Earley's vox add immeasurably to creating a disorientating scene within the song. 

'Needle' sounds like an Eastern version of Fleetwood Mac after a psychedelic overdose, sounds and effects are warped with the vocals calling from a distant thickening fog that is fast-approaching, enchanting. On 'Sculptor's Run' we find Kingdom of Crows in full flow, this feels like the track on the album where all inhibitions are cast aside, and it rivals 'Despondency' as the best single release to date. It's 80's underground new-wave club, and the only colours are black and white.

And 80's are shining through again on 'Arublus', it's as though Simple Minds spent a year in a basement with The Cure and Depeche Mode and only one person survived clutching onto the page the song was written on as they emerge. 

Kingdom of Crows - The Drip

Despondency closes with 'The Drip', and it's a gorgeous finale to a unique collection of songs. Everything you've heard up until now is put in a box and lifted up into the clouds, the guitar playing has an understated traditional Irish tint to it, the focus is on serenity and drawing us away from the gloom of this world to a better one. 

Two albums in and I don't fully understand Kingdom of Crow's place in the world, they write wonderful singles, you can only guess at what is influencing both albums. Yet they seem so detached from everything that is going on around them musically, and in all of the best ways that somehow brings me a lot of relief. Despondency feels like a place you can hide in, written for the listener, undiscovered landscapes carved in between those singles, which themselves point in the opposite direction of a lot of contemporary Irish music. I can relate yet it's new, and I don't want it to go away.

'Despondency' is officially released tomorrow, 21st of November



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