Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Old Canes - "Feral Harmonic"

Old Canes is the solo project of Chris Crisci of Appleseed Cast. Feral Harmonic, out now on Saddle Creek Records, is his second album and first since Early Morning Hymns was released in 2004. The raw rhythm-driven folk on the album is passed through the same experimental filters that made Appleseed Cast so interesting with added traditional folk instrumentation.

A short noisy instrumental intro opens the album, setting the tone for “Little Bird Courage” and its spirited acoustic strumming, scuttling drums, toy piano and triumphant trumpets by Kelly Hangauer of fellow Kansas band Fourth of July and ends with a church-like call and response chorus. “The Last Collapse” features more furious strumming, a shuffling beat and boisterous vocals. “Trust” is rooted in a Southern Gothic melody with banjo and a breakdown of shimmering bells before crashing back in with the chorus. “Next Flood” has an off-beat open-room drum sound, gentle acoustic guitar, harmonica and Crisci’s signature vocals. The beginning of “Sweet” sounds like an acoustic version of an Appleseed Cast song but with toy pianos and more trumpets before launching into a discordant jam to end the song. On “Under” Chris uses great vocal harmonies, aching harmonica and banjo to great effect for a more traditional folk sound. “Stuck” begins with speedy mandolin and banjo picking before revving up into a speaker-popping frenzy of instrumentation along with lyrics of a lamented love. Finally, after all of the energy, ornamentation and guests like, Jordan and Lucas of Minus Story, “Southern Radio” simply closes out the album with just Chris’s vocals and a guitar.

With Feral Harmonic, Chris Crisci has created a loose, punk-inspired folk record that fans of Appleseed Cast and of the Saddle Creek roster of bands can get behind.


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