The Big Bang
Cranes have not been around for the last two decades for nothing. Beginning in 1986 with a cassette tape release, they have trekked through multiple EPs, LPs, and record labels to arrive on their own independent label, Dadaphonic. With their newest album, Particles & Waves, Cranes continue their unique vision of music, art, and the world we live in.Titled after the physical properties of microscopic particles, and with an album cover sporting a paradoxical geometric fractal, Cranes create a fully conceptual album of which the packaging is only the beginning. Each song sounds like an experimentation in minimalism, swaying between lethargic guitar-driven songs reminiscent of Mazzy Star, and electronic soundscapes a la Thievery Corporation. Alison Shaw’s vocals, appropriately described as “little-girl-lost,” are youthful enough to be eerie without quite crossing the line into bizarre. The album is the essence of mellow: slowly dripping guitar, lazy drums, soft sparse vocals, and droning keyboards. It is not an album to make you get up and dance, though it may induce a dreamlike state.
With songs like the slow and heavy “Here Comes the Snow,” the light-hearted instrumental “Astronauts,” the slightly funky groove “Far From the City,” and the charming childlike “Light Song” complete with discordant breakdowns; Cranes have built a repertoire of ballads derived from 80s art rock, 90s alt rock, and 00s dub/lounge.
Though their music has been heard on the radio and soundtracks for years, Cranes haven’t yet fully exploded onto the music scene, though P&W may be the catalyst. Perhaps more accurately, their career hasn’t been an explosive process, but more akin to the Big Bang: slow, gradual, and with much more significance.