September 16, 2016

EP: Corvus B. - France, Later

Corvus B.'s spoken word EP is an otherworldly experience. 

Running through a forest can be a lucid portal into another world if your eyes hit the light the right way. This is the kind of art that makes you see with different kinds of ears and grow antlers and dazzle. That is how France, Later by Massachusetts’s band Corvus B. hits me. It is an otherworldly, ambient spoken-word album for fans of bands like Mallory and Told Slant. Rather than hitting you hard with meaning, it leaves around a nest to create a scene for you to explore at your own pace, to find hidden trinkets scattered around the trees.

This short EP off Skip, Jump Records starts off with a rolling track called “Glass Machines Discovering Water.” The song titles alone are their own poetry, with lots of imagery to unpack. Are the machines alive? Is it a metaphor? Are they fragile? What does the water mean to them now? Did they not know about it before? Did they discover the ocean or a river? The banjo on this track gives the intro to "Glass Machines" that type of “running” feeling I was talking about earlier. Its exciting and resonates with adventure. The articulation of the spoken word performance comes off less like scrambled, slam poetry and more like a steady, guiding narration. This sort of intentional meditation continues through “A Lampshade of Poison Ivy,” which slows the music down; you are in the glen now, you have time to think and reflect. One of my favorite lines on this album is repeated a few times: “I wanna watch dirt hold hands with lightning and see if it sticks.” This is a ritual or practice that is used frequently throughout the EP, instead of rushing through really brilliant words, the creators instead opt to use the spoken element as another kind of hook to let you know what bears repeating. The wordplay brilliantly continues, giving you enough ground to stand on but lots of room to interpret it, like the line in “Birds Nesting in Shoes on Telephone Wires”, that says “I want to build my coffin with a pencil.”

Apart from the beautiful imagery, the arrangement and instrumentals are especially poignant. The combination of complicated banjo and drum parts with just the right amount of reverb and distortion interspersed creates an amazing fantasy. Sometimes with poetry releases, the instrumentation ends up taking a back seat to the words, but this time they exist as equal partners in the spotlight. France, Later is a wonderful aural journey and one that might even be elevated in a live setting. Check these folks out and book them a rad show if you live in New England. You will not be disappointed.


Listen to Corvus B. on bandcamp

Ruune Magick is an ex-nomadic performer/current village witch living in New England. You can find their twitter during some moon phases at @ruunemagick.