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Saturday, January 23, 2021

The latest from Crack the Sky, Screens 4 Eyes, Kiwi Jr., The Perfumers, Harriet Comfort

Crack the Sky: We Don't Know

Many of the songs on this veteran prog-rock band's new album, Tribes, comment on the current divisions in society. We previously featured the title track ("We take sides / Believing in our tribes"); another warns about signs of "Another Civil War." Our latest pick for the New Music bin addresses official disinformation: "Calling all men in government suits / All I want is a little truth." There's a hint of Beatles/Floyd psychedelia on the refrain, "We don't know what to believe / All we see is all we see." 

Screens 4 Eyes: Secrets

Like so many bands around the world, this Tel Aviv-based electro-pop group's plans for their next EP have been slowed to a crawl by pandemic lockdown. They eked out one single last year ("Sometimes a Gate Is Opened") and have just released this "dreamy folktronica" track. The lyric speaks of the inability to keep secrets when they are shared with a supposed friend in the form of texts, emails, photos - evidence that can easily be spread around. "In the coming of time / You will have what you need / To crush me." 

Kiwi Jr.: Waiting in Line

Photo: Warren Calbeck
This Toronto quartet puts frontman Jeremy Gaudet's sardonic narrative lyrics together with deceptively loose arrangements to make breezy, jangly indie rock. AllMusic writes that the band's sophomore album, Cooler Returns,"feels ever so slightly more refined" than its 2019 debut, "allowing the band's unique stew of influences and reference points a little more room to gel." The band has drawn comparisons to Parquet Courts and Pavement, and we detect earlier influences like The Kinks. DIY Mag calls the new album "an endearingly ramshackle pop-rock affair that suggests they managed to do something unthinkable with their 2020 - had a lot of fun." 

The Perfumers: I Need It

This four-piece band from Fort Wayne, Indiana, professes to "spend most of their time writing, producing and drinking coffee." Siblings Jordan (guitar, vocals) and Sayge (drums) Kortenber, along with Malakai Bisel (guitar, vocals), have been playing together since 2012. After taking a break, they reformed the band in 2019, and were just beginning to play shows when the pandemic shut that down. So they turned their focus to recording, added keyboardist Noah Campodonico and revamped their sound. This is their third single - released a few months ago, but still "new" to us. They describe it as covering "topics such as love, social media, and phone addiction." 

Harriet Comfort: The Other Side

Most of its members hail from Australia, but this six-piece group came together in East London. They took their band name from mail that kept being delivered to their flat, presumably intended for a previous occupant. They took their power-rock sound from influences that range from Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes to The Cranberries and Fleetwood Mac. This track is said to be "inspired by a night out on the town in a new city ... [exploring] the excitement of unexpectedly being thrust into a new adventure with some unsavoury characters.

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