Guitar World|August 2020
WHEN CROWN LANDS guitarist Kevin Comeau was 14, he was a budding punk bassist with “spiky blue hair” who worshipped Green Day and the Clash. Unfortunately, his parents were absolutely fine with his rebellious music. So he did the most punk thing he could think of at the time: he dove headfirst into progressive rock.
“At the height of my punk-rock rebellion I discovered my parents’ least-favorite band of all time was Rush, [so] I downloaded A Farewell to Kings,” he says with a laugh. “I remember listening to ‘Xanadu’ for the first time and hearing the birds chirping in the background. I think that’s the first time I discovered what a synthesizer was. Geddy [Lee’s] bass playing is so good, and Alex [Lifeson’s] solo at the end. It changed my life, man.”
From the look and sound of Crown Lands, it’s clear the life change has stuck. The young Canadian duo, which also features singer/ drummer Cody Bowles, exudes Seventies hard-rock swagger: from lion’s mane hair and vintage clothes to speaker-rattling blues riffs, progressive psyche vibes and tricked-out rigs. The exciting sonic blend, which they’ve explored on two ear-catching EPs (2016’s Mantra and 2017’s Rise Over Run), has already earned Crown Lands some high-profile fans: Jack White, Primus and Rival Sons have all invited the rising band to open for them on tour.
Now Crown Lands are about to take things to the next level with the release of their self-titled debut full-length for Universal Canada. The album, which they recorded with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton), is a sweeping affair filled with soaring vocals, searing riffs, dynamics galore and 12-string lushness that evokes their idols like Led Zeppelin, Rush and Genesis. But instead of some hazy, smoked-out retro act rehashing far-out fantasy topics, the pair brings a fresh perspective to the genre by exploring some weighty subject matter that’s rooted in their own community.
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