Lost Crowns found crown jewels

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I only needed to play ten seconds of the Lost Crowns’ debut album ‘Every Night Something Happens’ to think that it is fantastic.

A sustained, reedy organ tone in the bottom, rattly cymbals and a twitchy guitar on top. That’s all. A bit murky and certainly eerie.

On their Bandcamp site, the Lost Crowns call themselves a “psych-pop supergroup”. However, that “super” adjective only makes sense if you are a fan of punk/prog cult band the Cardiacs, in which case you already have bought this album as well.

But if you aren’t and you haven’t, then I urge you to read on since this review is written especially for you.

You see, not only did Cardiacs main-man Tim Smith make some of the most fabulous pop records ever, he also acted as a magnet for other singular talents. And the extended family of Cardiacs-related musicians remain at the forefront of English underground music to this day, not least in outfits such as Knifeworld and North Sea Radio Orchestra – bands that both lend members to the Lost Crowns.

And chief Crown jewel Richard Larcombe certainly is a singular talent. According to Bad Elephant Music label boss David Elliot, Richard wanted to take the psychedelic music from the late 60s and turn it up a notch.

But that would be a bit like going with every other underground band on the planet. This album sounds nothing like that. That is to say, although it does have a post-psychedelic early 70s proto-prog feel at times, that isn’t the point with this record.

Instead, the point is that this is music that can be hauntingly beautiful one second but angular and harsh the next. Without transition. It has awkward time signatures and in place of solos there are odd flights of tones sprinkled throughout. 

This might sound a bit chaotic, and at times it is indeed. But as a perfect balance, there’s always Richard’s strikingly English and somehow well-mannered voice.

In other words, it sounds like nothing else you have heard.

That is, if you haven’t heard Stars In Battledress, Richard’s band with his younger brother James. Or even better, Defeat The Young, which was the band that featured Richard as the only songwriter with James just playing. The Lost Crowns sound a bit like that, only with a band instead of a brother. Defeat The Young unfortunately only released four songs at the dawn of this century, but they are all great little wonders.

So getting a full Richard Larcombe penned album is quite a treat. An album like ‘Every Night Something Happens’ is not something that happens every year.

Because it is not just the ten first seconds that are brilliant. The other 49 minutes are too. Every single one of those minutes, I should say. Richard’s twisted sense of melody makes perfectly twisted melodic sense throughout.

In fact, I already know this will be the best album of 2019 for me. And I will carry it close to my heart much longer than that. Literally. It will fit nicely next to “In Droplet Form” by the Stars In Battledress which has been on my phone ever since its release back in 2014.

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