The first thing when one things of Kansas is…well, Kansas. But there’s more to the Sunflower State than prog rock and wheat fields. Witness the quartet of Christopher Crisci, Nathan Richardson, Jordan Geiger and Aaron Croker, better known as the Old Canes. Though they’ve been playing on and off for years, the acoustic folk band has been making inroads since 2004’s Early Morning Hymns. Since then, several Old Cane singles have shown up on YouTube and Pandora, making them just the latest band to rise in prominence on the World Wide Web. With their follow up, Feral Harmonic, Crisci and the band explore the organized chaos of acoustic folk-rock music with flair.
The album starts off haphazard at first, with what sounds like an impromptu band session full of cymbals and drums and harried instructions from Crisci to the other band members. But make no mistake, these guys aren’t fly by nights who got together to record a few tracks in a garage. Witness the frenetic energy of “I Will Be the Sun,” a blizzard of horns and guitar that sound more like rock than folk. The tornado of sound is followed by “Stuck”, a passionate, upbeat ditty with more upbeat tempos than a Top 40 single, and none of that Autotune stuff either.
Some tracks are stripped down while others roar with Dylanesque ambience (One of Crisci’s admitted influences.) That there isn’t a consistent ‘sound’ could be said to be both the albums saving grace and its Achilles heel. Such musical rawness has long been sought after by musicians and critics alike, but some fans might prefer a little consistency, however uninspired it may be, to a little spontaneous magic. There loss is, fortunately, our gain. The latest “indie” band to hit the radar, Old Canes is a mix of old folk and acoustic rock that is sure to be a hit for folkies and indie fans alike, but they offer so much more.
At $13.99, this is worth the coinage.