Crown Larks, Chicago four-piece freak outfit par excellence, manages to weave together the skronkiest free jazz, the deepest krautrock grooves, the most expansive psychedelia, and an ethically sound DIY backbone to create a work of startling beauty and intrigue on Blood Dancer, their debut LP. While a less-maniacally-driven-to-tour band would most likely sound sloppier crafting such a diverse sound, Crown Larks manage to impart wonder in their compositions. As such, the surprises are near constant, which, once again, could easily allow for slip ups, but the band is as tight in its performance as it is ambitious.
The songs that fill Blood Dancer are big - I mean really big - but it's also an album that should be viewed through a Gestalt lens: the whole is actually bigger than the sum of its parts. That said, there's a clear moment when everything reaches this sublime watermark. On the closer "Overgrown," about two-thirds of the way through the meandering pilgrimage, a massive noise section interjects itself, all of the song's parts gyrate in an imploring miasma, and the vocals take on a desperate note, like David Bowie shouting "Give Me Your Hands!" at the peak of "Rock n' Roll Suicide." This is the most powerful point in the record, a reflection on what has gone before, and showcases every strength in the band's exciting repertoire. It's magical and elusive - a moment most bands never get to write or experience, but one that Crown Larks fucking nail and we're all artistically richer for it.