We had the opportunity to conduct an Advance Review of Crane Like the Bird's debut self-titled LP! The album is an alt revelation that is steeped in autobiographical history for it's writer Kyle Crane. It tells the story of the loss of his father from a helicopter crash and the impact of the loss on their family.The album also features an all-star cast of guests including: Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), James Mercer (The Shins), Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun), Sabina Sciubba (Brazilian Girls),Peter Morén (Peter Bjorn and John), M. Ward, Blake Mills, acclaimed pedal steel guitarist Daniel Lanois and jazz pianist Brad Mehldau. The album is set to drop on January 18th! Check out what our thoughts were below!
Crane Like the Bird - Crane Like the Bird
1. "Wishing Cap" (feat. James Mercer) - A wistful and fast alt tune beautifully sung by The Shins James Mercer. This tune allows the album to hit the ground running and is a great way to kick it off. The melody is light and let's the listener breath. The percussion pops and is also a strength in this track.
2. "Now" - A slow tune with a great bit of ambiance behind it. Has a hint western themes to the guitar and percussion, which is welcome. Ultimately it's rooted in the folk and Americana genres. This song has fantastic melodic progressions. Love the ending of the song as it sort of fades into the distance.
3. Nicole (feat. Ben Bridwell) - Another quicker paced indie track, this time featuring fantastic vocals from Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses that seem to come from everywhere. Love the shifts in this song musically. Thematically, the song discusses silver linings and seeing the silver lining. Fantastically tight song.
4. Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park - Strong guitars and the addition of keys in this track pop out immediately. Again there is a folky feeling to the track which we are all about. The song dances beautifully with no words for most of the track, just music. The star of the track is the guitar which features some high-talent finger picking work. At the end of the track we finally get some vocals which are really just complimentary to the music at this point. The music had conveyed the message of this track pretty effectively already.
5. Mendocino (feat. Luke Steele) - Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun is guesting on this track. We're back in the indie genre here, with a very hard turn into it. That is, musically, this song is so different than the previous one it's incredible. That's okay though, we dig the diversity. This song is downright catchy with the work of the electronic beats.
6. When I See (feat. Conor Oberst) - A slower track featuring Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. This track comps to a Bright Eyes track musically as well. Which is to be expected a bit, as collaborations need to make sense musically in order to work. This one makes so much sense.
7. Kaleidoscope (feat. Sabina Sciubba and Brad Mehldau) - There are some fantastic homemade harmonies featuring Brazilian Girls' Sabina Sciubba that we absolutely loved. The song has a frantic pace to it that just builds momentum throughout before finally breaking around the 3:00 minute mark. The song features the piano work of Brad Mehldau midway through the track, which is there to hold the listener as he plays. The song clocks in at just a bit of 9:00 minutes.
8. Glass Half Full (feat. Peter Morén) - A more indie themed track featuring Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn and John. The percussion again pops so well here, it really holds down the rhythm as much as any other instrument. We loved the more electronic aspects of this song.
9. The Painter (feat. M. Ward) - Another alt track that features M. Ward. The beat in this track sets up a slower pace than the other alt and indie entries on this LP. This track again shows off Kyle Crane's flexibility with his style, which is cool to hear.
Overall Thoughts - The first six songs on this LP were extremely strong! There were points in "Kaleidoscope" where it could be easy to get lost, 9:00 minutes for a track is a big ask for listeners, but we thought it was handled well (especially with the differing movements in it). The album finished strong with "Glass Half Full" and "The Painter".
Rating - 4.5/5