Former touring buddies of Wilco, Tim Rutili’s prolific Chicago-based Califone deliver their sixth album in as many years. The band deal in stripped down, rootsy rock music of a quality that puts them in a similar pedigree to veterans such as Will Oldham, Silver Jews and the aforementioned Wilco.
Roots And Crowns is a slightly more spacious and atmospheric record than 2004’s Heron King Blues. Largely led by acoustic instruments, it has an incredible air of restraint about it, as if everything was painstakingly constructed from a vocal jam downwards. The ultra-minimalist ‘Black Minute Valentine’ is a particular case in point, as it unfolds at a deathly slow pace over its 6:16 running time.
While the album’s most immediate moments – ‘Sunday Noises’, ‘The Orchids’, ‘3 Legged Animals’ – are also its most lucid and traditional, there is a beautifully organic feel to the whole thing that will eventually ensnare the listener. At times much like a soundtrack to life’s sombre and reflective moments, Roots And Crowns’ clutter-free design is a nice reminder that good music needs no window dressing.
7Tom Edwards's Score