Crown Lands : Fearless

Hints of Pink Floyd, slight pinches of Led Zeppelin, some Yes and a dose or two of Rush. Toss in the sweetness of Tangerine Dream and synths of Vangelis. The result is perfection for the ears and a nod to that era of intellectual prog rock, all with a modern day twist. It’s the ideal recipe for some of the sweetest ear candy in 2023.

This is the best way to accurately describe the sophomore effort from Canada’s Crown Lands simply titled Fearless on Spinefarm Records. What makes Fearless even more impressive on the soundscape is that the band is a duo. The diversity of Crown Lands’ music is unimaginable at times considering everything is created and performed by two people.

Fronting Crown Lands vocally from behind the drum kit with a soaring tenor range voice is Cody Bowles. Not only are drums the forte of Bowles, a two-spirited half-Mi’kmaq, there’s Indigenous wooden flutes as well. Lyrically, Bowles dabbles with science – fiction and fantasy.

As for the other half of Crown Lands, there’s Kevin Comeau. The guitarist / bassist / keyboardist maintains a fondness of vintage synthesizers and electric sitars, all which are delicately woven throughout Fearless.

The connection to that prog rock era and a fellow Canadian trio is immediate with the “Starlifter : Fearless Pt. II” the first track of Fearless clocking in at 20:00. Along with the classic rock riffs, synths, electric sitar and tempo changes, the listener will become lost in an imaginative world. At times, a melting sensation may flow over the body depending how deeply one  becomes engrossed into the song. “Starlifter” is an amazing introduction to the nine-track Fearless and what’s to come. It’s an epic track indeed.

The recording sessions for both “Dreamer of the Dawn” and “The Shadow” saw the birth of the two songs. “The Shadow” was a collaboration with producer David Bottrill who not only has an impressive production resume but bass credits as well.

The collaboration was the first time the Crown Lands duo co-wrote outside of the band. The song itself has that hint of Pink Floyd to it. 

Track five, “Context,” a 2021 single may be a surprise to some. It’s a full blown, 8:21, ten-part song tribute to Rush referencing sections of the band’s work. What’s unique about “Context” is the demo was created with Terry Brown who produced the first nine Rush albums. The song was finalized with others in the Rush producer family tree, Nick Raskulinecz and Bottrill.

“Reflections” sees the band as themselves, the duo. The song was a turning point between the two during the pandemic bringing them back together. As one lyric states, “We’ll recognize each other’s souls again.” Bowles and Comeau  realized they were better together than apart.

Comeau’s acoustic instrumental “Penny” is a touching and beautiful song, no lyrics needed. The 4:02 song itself was written years ago for his late grandmother. Comeau was with her when she passed and he went home and wrote the song. For Comeau, it’s a way for him to keep her memory alive.

The album wraps up with “Lady of the Lake” and “Citadel”. “Lady of the Lake” was released as a single in February.

As for “Citadel,” it’s a finely crafted, piano led, 6:23 song that brings Fearless to an end. It sees Bowles vocals soaring, wrapping around the listener but the deeper part is the message. It’s about people defending their land.

Fearless is a stunning and glorious album with hopes of reaching new people. The music is an easy listen full of rich, ambitious, enchanting, magical and hypnotizing creations. 

To understand the magic of Fearless is to feel it and to feel it, one needs not only to hear it but to experience it. 

Live Performance of Starlifter : Fearless Pt II

Liver Performance of Citadel