On their new album, Dublin-based six-piece, The Crayon Set, set out to create something different. The band’s well-received 2013 self-titled debut had many marking them down as Ireland’s answer to Belle & Sebastian; on the follow-up, Lost Languages, they set out to make a record largely influenced by the other side of the Atlantic. The Crayon Set began exploring the sounds of Americana, informing producer Gavin Glass, they wanted the record to sound like, “Tom Petty on LSD”. Although of course recorded prior to Petty’s recent passing, the record, which we’re premiering here today, now stands as a fitting tribute to the legendary songwriters memory.
Thematically, Lost Languages is a record that perhaps touches on nostalgia; it seems to look back on growing up in Ireland, whilst simultaneously attempting to come to terms with the process of growing up in the modern world. These are songs about relationships, songs about change, songs of successes and failures and songs about the very process of being alive.
Musically, The Crayon Set are a band who have always been sonically adventurous. The sharing of vocal duties between members mixes with their vast and versatile assortment of instruments, to create a sound that nods to the chamber-pop of Fanfarlo or Architecture in Helsinki. The big change here is a shift towards a more driving, guitar-led sound: take upcoming single, Down About It, there’s a touch of Pavement to the laid back-vocal delivery, while the production wouldn’t sound out-of-place on Ryan Adams’ classic Heartbreaker.
It’s an album that seems to flit easily from one style to another, while always maintaining it’s identity; the shift from the bombastic, almost Stooges-like Attack to the wistful acoustic-explorations of Closed Lines, could in another band’s hands sound messy and jarring, but here both styles seem like a natural progression for the band.
Best of all is the sublime, I Can’t Say No. Kate Dineen’s delightfully laid-back vocal is to the fore, placed atop a swirling backing of slide guitars, warm almost retro-sounding synthesisers and bright stabs of acoustic. There’s a touch of Belle and Sebastian’s Lazy Jane to the track’s thoughtful, quiet euphoria.
A record that clearly set out with bold ambitions, and more than lives up to them, Lost Languages is an album that seems almost timeless. Borrowing ideas from throughout music history and infusing them with enough personality to sound like nobody but themselves. Beautifully crafted, Lost Languages is a huge step-forward for The Crayon Set and one of the year’s most intriguing offerings.
Lost Languages is out October 10th via Track Records. Click HERE for more information on The Crayon Set.