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Crown Lands: Odyssey Vol I

Crown Lands, a duo from Canada, put out what I consider one of 2021’s finest releases in the shape of the EP, White Buffalo. Steeped in authentic rock sounds with a slightly prog twist, to suggest that the twosome of Cody Bowles (vocals, drums) and Kevin Comeau (guitar, bass, keys) take their cues from Led Zeppelin and Rush might just be a ginormous understatement, but there’s just enough of the pair’s own heart and vision in proceedings to ensure that any accusations of straight up plagiarism prove well wide of the mark. Leaving you to simply bask in what is incredibly driven, nuanced classic rock with a progressive twist.

Mere months down the line and the twosome are back, this time with Odyssey Vol I, a live album that Crown Lands themselves insist lives deep in a long lost tradition where live performances were captured, warts and all, and kept for posterity in the hearts of fans of the bands revealing them. Hence, this live in the studio (after all, it was recorded during Covid times) album isn’t perfect, it isn’t polished and it isn’t afraid to reveal an occasional missed cue, bum note, or unexpectedly extended solo. It’s also something of a triumph.

Yes, Bowles’ vocals in this setting may prove to be something of an acquired taste, what with their Robert Plantisms crashing headlong into some Geddy Lee-alike moments. However, when combined with music that positively hums and cracks with intent, they prove instead to be a glinting weapon that slices through any obstacle in their path. Just take in the stripped back clean guitars and wailing vocals of “The Witching Hour (Electric Witch)” to get lost in the spell they cast. But then “Sundance” spits and snarls with bright melodies, deep grooves and a pure heart, before the utterly spellbinding “The Oracle” truly illustrates the depth of what’s being conjured here. That said, whether through the proud holler of “Mountain Mix”, which has an air of Hendrix about it, or the bright latter Zep meets Rush of “White Buffalo”, this incredibly honest performance simply never sets a foot wrong, even if perfection was never a consideration.

Having just won the Juno Award for being the Breakthrough Group of 2021, Crown Lands look set to be a fixture on the rock scene for some time to come. With releases like this, it’s no wonder.

Track Listing
1. Inner Light
2. Right Way Back
3. Context: Fearless Pt. 1
4. Mountain
5. End of The Road
6. White Buffalo
7. The Witching Hour (Electric Witch)
8. Sun Dance
9. The Oracle
10. Reflections

Added: December 11th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Crown Lands Music
Hits: 617
Language: english

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