The first time I dropped out, turned on, and tuned in to this broadcast sent from a pile of weird synapses left behind in lysergic abandon by visitors from an alternate Pagan universe where peyote in the water supply is an inalienable right, it danced around at the bottom of the grounds, shyly and slyly partly hidden behind the Summer House, only fleetingly glimpsed from my position on the South Tower, sipping egg nog and attired in my most worn smoking jacket. Occasional sparks of colour were observed, and there was a flash of a wicked grin on the leery fizzog of the whirling dervish dancing in and out of focus through my always handy telescopic device. The next few times I played it, it crept slowly and somewhat self-consciously up the grounds, tip-toeing past the Walled Vegetable Garden and the Ornamental Pond, deftly as a sprite, with a knowing and impish wink.
Finally, last Tuesday, it reached the correctly manicured Upper Lawn, and there it was dancing around in front me, full of braggadocio and confidence anew in its innate ability to thoroughly mess with my head and leave me wonkily disoriented. This would seem to be the ideal time to start penning appropriately elevated doggerel and nonsense in its fulsome appraisal.
Contrary to appearances on this strange, dense, but nimble offering entitled Every Night Something Happens, Richard Larcombe is of the planet Earth, and perhaps less surprisingly has deep connections to the Clan Cardiacs. You may be aware of his forays into sound as one half of sibling outfit Stars In Battledress. Someone let him out on his own, and he gathered together a group of like-minded musical wizards from the great and the good of the London alt-everything music scene, and the end result is a band who sound like the Sons of Gentle Giant let loose with the ghost of Syd in an LSD factory, having been instructed to leave any and all rockisms at the door to be collected on the way out. Or, to put it more directly, as the venerable Kavus Torabi introduced them at what was my favourite gig of 2018, Lost Crowns may well be “The best band in London”. He knows a thing or two, does Kavus.
“Too many lost crowns, I’ll never finish this now”, the temptation is to get as convoluted in text as the music now assaulting my heightened senses.
Folk who understand music theory will no doubt be able to pin this gloriously multi-hued shape-shifting beast down with some arcane musical descriptor, me, it just does unexpected things to my head, and if I’m standing up, to my knees, that both my therapist and osteopath in turn would probably advise against, but sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow. I can now think and walk in all directions simultaneously, while chewing gum.
Earworm of 2018 came from the Lost Crowns song Sound As Colour, and as this promo edition comes with an additional “Radio Edit” of said gloriously wonky seven and a half minute tune, the band obviously reckon this is the one to subvert the nation with the belief they can fly off that cliff edge with nary a care in the world.
Later, much later, I think it likes me. The album is now following me around the house, I can’t shake it off. This is a good thing, and given time I might be able to train it to fetch my slippers. Psychedelia was never quite like this, and now it’s gone and stolen Aunt Mabel’s sit-up-and-beg bicycle and careened orf to the village for provisions. It could only be English, this record, a whimsical thread connects all of this together. Lewis Carroll would understand it, as would Gentle Giant, and a huge nod to the cerebral but undoubtedly psychedelically inclined proggers, borne of course from the pop-psyche of Simon Dupree & The Big Sound gawps at us from the riff and melody of the marvellous Let Loving Her Be Everything before it scampers off down to the Lower Lawn with tonight’s tea clasped in its scampish maw.
Getting up close and personal, the album now sits at the other end of the bath, having kidnapped my rubber duck. Luckily some loose-limbed respite is on hand with the delightful convolutions of She Saved Me, as it scrubs my back with the loofah. Instrumentation is varied and plentiful with much reed work giving this number a chamber rock inclination. Classical keyboard, pastoral folk lulls us in Dandy Doesn’t Know. A rest before proceedings get wobbly agrin.
I espy Aunt Mabel’s bike has been returned and discarded carelessly by the lawnmower shed, so the album’s come home just in time to regale me with the splendiferous Let Loving Her Be Everything, aforementioned Giantisms an’all. It’s leaping around in the kitchen in a peculiar collection of wrong time signatures while I’m attempting to prepare tea, headbanging furiously to THAT riff, reproduced both vocally and instrumentally. I’ve seen this played live, I know what it can do where yoga takes twice the time.
The last track proper before the Radio Edit of Sound As Colour is the dust cloud disturbance of Star Of My Heart, that sees our gaggle of imps take the Heath Robinson spaceship made of egg cartons and string out for one last orbit before landing in a cloud of magic dust that appropriately never settles the same way twice.
Having inveigled itself deep within my trusting heart. the album now lives in my pocket on a diet of wishes and kisses. “It’s no use sitting on the fence, stand up say ‘Scoundrel get thee hence’”, it says. It’s getting far too cocky, but I love it and all its quirks. You should too.
PS – I was going to conclude with some earnest praise of the line-up, but that would only spoil it, so I stick a flower in the gun barrel of common sense, and blow a raspberry.
PPS – The album is out on 25th January, and don’t forget the album launch gig on Friday 8th February at the charmingly monikered The Slaughtered Lamb, in that London. Be there or be an impossibly straight banana in a dull grey world.
01. Housemaid’s Knees (9:56)
02. Lost Crowns (3:30)
03. Sound As Colour (7:39)
04. Midas X-Ray (5:21)
05. She Saved Me (5:15)
06. Dandy Doesn’t Know (3:38)
07. Let Loving Her Be Everything (6:30)
08. The Star Of My Heart (6:32)
Total Time – 48:25
Nicola Baigent – Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Recorder
Charlie Cawood – Bass Guitar
Sharron Fortnam – Vocals
Keepsie – Drums, Handbells
Richard Larcombe – Lead Vocal, Guitar, Handbells
Rhodri Marsden – Piano, Harmonium, Electric Piano, Bassoon, Saw, Harpsichord, Vocals
Josh Perl – Synthesiser, Vocals, Handbells
Record Label: Bad Elephant Music
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 25th January 2019