Friday, March 28, 2008

Cranes & Crows- review

I have to admit that it wasn't that long ago that i had never heard of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. But thanks to the music coming from Bon Iver and now the band Cranes & Crows it has my full attention. Cranes & Crows is the Indie/acoustic project of Paul Brandt, who has been in the bands (Meridene and The Gentle Guest). Cranes have just recently released their debut album Blame Winter on Amble Down records, and Blame Winter is a gem from start to finish. The band who list Ryan Adams as an influence have created something that to me can be compared to one of Adams' finest works in "Heartbreaker". The album is both intimate and lush and brings the listener deep into the cold Wisconsin winter where you can feel the isolation and despair in Brandts' lyrics.
If given a quick listen the album might be considered slow and quiet, but when listening closely those tracks that begin quiet and sparse build into beautiful crescendo's with rich arrangements. Some of the highlights off Blame Winter are the tracks "Wrecking Ball" with its urgent & frantic piano near the close, "So it Goes" with tight vocal harmonies on the chorus and "Cornered" which comes at you full on with Hammond organ and it's romping beat. Another stellar track is "Ruins" which features tender banjo plucking leading into pounding piano on the swelling build up under Brandts' yells. On the standout track "I'll Never Leave" Brandt sings of the questions that face a shaky relationship "... they were searchin in all the wrong places... they tried too hard and fell in love with love" then "... even though they had to take the long way .. they both found what they needed in the end". Its up close and personal moments like these on Blame Winter that Cranes & Crows take us into a moment in time in that Wisconsin winter and leave us never wanting to come home.
You can stream Cranes & Crows album Blame Winter on Virb or check them out on their Mypsace.

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