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(48:26; Bad Elephant Music)
Lost Crowns is a new group, even though the people involved have been around the scene quite a while. This diverse set of personnel has been brought together by songwriter Richard Larcombe (Stars In Battledress), who dragged in Charlie Cawood (Knifeworld, Tonochrome, My Tricksy Spirit) on bass, keyboardists Rhodri Marsden (Prescott, Scritti Politti) and Josh Perl (Knifeworld), and Nicola Baigent (North Sea Radio Orchestra, William D. Drake) on clarinet – together with Keepsie on drums. I have read a few reviews of this album and am intrigued that no-one has yet to pick up on the hugely obvious influence, which was apparent the first time I heard it, namely Tim Smith and the mighty Cardiacs. ‘Sing To God’ is as important an album today as it was when it was released more than 20 years ago, and I wonder if this is going to be treated with the same reverence and care. It is pronk, it is prog, it is indie rock, it is RIO, it is avant-garde, it is anarchic, structured, complex, simplistic, mainstream, none of these, all of these, and so much more. The simple bass and drum introduction to the song of their namesake contains a great deal of space which the addition of gentle vocals and complex clarinet (and then guitar) does nothing to dispel. They keep making me think of a Gong for the 21st Century, psychedelic sounds which come together to make perfect sense in a way no-one else has imagined. Richard’s attitude to music was apparently formed by The Incredible String Band and Syd Barrett but, “The missing element for me in the psych-rock canon is complexity”, says Richard. “To me the combination is essential. Psychedelic pop became prog rock, but the fluttery, out-of-it surrender got lost in the transition to more elaborate arrangements. The intricacy of Lost Crowns is meant to add to the evocation of visionary experience.” This is an album which makes me think of cassette decks, live performances, smelly crowds at The Marquee or The Standard, in awe of what was being portrayed in front of them. I am convinced this will be in my Top Ten at the end of the year.
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