boycalledcrow: Emerald – album review
The latest long-player by boycalledcrow sees him pushing his melodic sensibilities further than before. Simon Tucker reviews.
Clouds opens Emerald. Clouds part. Clouds plays like an intro track at a live gig. Clouds disperse. Clouds is beautiful. Clouds is rinsed through with a glistening melody and layered with shards of optimism. Welcome to Emerald…
Emerald is the new album from boycalledcrow. It is also one of the finest Pop albums to be released this year. There will be those that box it in the electronica file, and that’s fair enough, but Emerald is so much more than that. It is the Pop music of Tangerine Dream and Neu! It is the beautifully melodic Pop of Aphex Twin at his most playful. Emerald is the Pop of Brian Wilson just with computers replacing the human voice. boycalledcrow has made a slight, addictive and spiritual album that taps into the skyward looking joy of a Gospel record yet grounds it in the repetition of machine music.
The intent is obvious from the opening trio of Clouds, Flurt and Ghost. These songs inject a sense of optimism instantly into the listener and there is a moment of snark or malice. You can physically feel the joy in the bottom of your gut. By the time we reach album highlights Africa, Butterfly and the gloriously grinding Vapor we are in a forced state of empathy and serenity. None of which feels unfairly pushed upon us or plays in any way saccharine or contrived. Emerald places you in a better world and for its ten song running time you are happy to be there.
Releases like Emerald can fly under the radar. Released on the DIY labels Wormhole World and Holloway Tapes this is an album that only those that already follow the work of boycalledcrow may investigate. This would be (stands on imaginary soapbox) a shame as this is one of the most infectious albums released this year. Electronica heads have enough here to claim it as own of their own but at its core it is bigger it is more than that. It is expansive, inclusive, beautiful, relatable, and highly addictive…in other words Emerald is great POP music.
boycalledcrow can be found via Twitter where he tweets as @boycalledcarl