At the end of the nineties Australian music was at its strongest, before the polluting of the pool with the likes of Australian Idols, back when the band scene was strong and a Triple J Unearthing meant a career in music. It was around this time that four-piece Sydney outfit, Crow, were at their most successful – granted the success was fairly underground, but success nonetheless. After roughly a decade of being separated, the original line up has re-formed to release a new record, Arcane. The band’s sound, surprisingly, hasn’t changed much, which is a nice little feeling for those who like to reminisce and think back to the days of good Australian rock bands, playing in crummy little pubs to sold out crowds.
The record opens with Ghost At The Crossroads, the first single – a dark, brooding affair of rolling rock, like a mellow Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The vocal pairing of Peter Archer and Peter Fenton is in fine form with strong chorus harmonies that have a live, untouched feel. This is, in some ways, what makes this record something special, as the sound is captured in a raw and beautiful manner, as if the band had just ignored all of the advances in recording technology over the ten years and stuck to what they knew. A standout on the album is Stray Leanne (which when sung in the very catchy chorus sounds like ‘Australian’); the song amps up the volume as the overdrive kicks in for a blues influenced rock track. Other highlights include She’s Higher Than The Light, with its horn filled bridge section and Cold Wind Hollow, a slightly off key guitar and vocal performance backed by tom heavy drums. The record ends with Barbarous Things, a slow acoustic ballad with soft percussion and a glockenspiel, which adds a little colour to the melancholy number.
Crow have gone back to the classic pub rock type of song writing, which, when combined with a simple and honest recording style, makes a record that will remind you what good music is all about.