Illinois five-piece Lark’s Tongue will release their debut album, Narrow, through their own Bird Dialect Records on Sept. 20 (preorder here). The eight-song 2LP plays out in utter defiance of its title: Narrow is anything but as Lark’s Tongue explore the spaces between heavy psychedelia and post-rock, working influences from New Wave melancholia into songs like “Hecate” and concocting rich vocal harmonies to complement the airy backing of guitar effects and synth that constitute their lush, immersive sound when paired with deep bass and underlying drums that seem to hold the whole thing together. At 63 minutes, it is as ambitious a debut as one is likely to hear this year or any other, and its weight is matched by both its sonic and emotional resonance.
There are moments at which, with the spacious mix, ever-present focus on melody and heavy push, Lark’s Tongue remind of mid-period Katatonia or some of Anathema‘s former glories, but they seem to take the long way around to get there. That is, I don’t think it’s a direct influence, and rather that the wisping guitar of “Lay Me Down Slow” and the dramatic vocals of “Hermit’s Lament” come more from post-rock than the doom that took earlier inspiration from it. Still, as Narrow plays out, even in a heavier-rocking cut like “The Mask of Evil,” there’s a definite sense of clarity in Lark’s Tongue‘s vision, and the method of expression varies widely between the dreamy opening of “Windows and Mirrors” and the drone-to-apex finale of “Brown Recluse,” but what remains consistent is the smoothness with which they execute the material and the vast range of the album’s scope, undercutting the notion of Narrow as a first album and giving away members’ experience in acts like Minsk, Men of Fortune, Deceased Priest and JuanGoblin.
Lark’s Tongue is comprised of Chris Bennett, Jeff Hyde, Nate Lucas, Jon Wright and Andrew Sledd, and whatever else Narrow may or may not be, it’s a huge leap from where they were last year on their split with Across Tundras (streamed here). Listening to it is like diving into a pool, the way the band’s sound encompasses, especially when played at appropriate volume. Perhaps the most immersive moment is “Cold Hands,” which over the course of its 10 minutes rises from minimal guitar drones to a huge, lumbering tonal crush topped with somehow-still-under-control vocals that really emphasize just how far ahead of the game these guys are.
They’ll play two release shows for Narrow on Sept. 19 and 20. PR wire details and LP preoroder info follow the album itself, which you can hear on the player below.
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Following a debut 7″ and split 12″s with Across Tundras and Men of Fortune, Narrow is the debut full-length from Lark’s Tongue and the ninth release on the band’s own label, Bird Dialect. It features eight expansive songs across two LPs that collectively encapsulate the band’s first four years of existence.
Narrow is a pilgrimage across the vastness of psychedelic rock to places at once familiar and foreboding, severe and loving, intricate and immense. It’s the band’s first fully-formed missive: a statement of intention, a transmission of catharsis, a halcyon ode to the power of transformation.
A vinyl release show is set for September 20th at Ear in the Envelope in Peoria, Illinois, just one day after the band opens for the legendary Nik Turner’s Hawkwind at RIBCO in Rock Island.
Recorded by Jeff Gregory at ToneLab/Earth Analog
Mixed by Sanford Parker at Hypercube
Mastered by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room