13 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Roots & Crowns is the sound of a pawn shop coming to life after dark, an avant-folk symphony of creaky floorboards and short-circuiting gadgetry. But drowsy-voiced frontman Tim Rutili keeps his cool as everything around him goes bump in the night: On “Pink & Sour,” he unleashes a cavalcade of buzzing guitars and swirling synths over a rumbling West African groove, all while cooing smooth harmonies. And on “The Orchids,” he delivers a hymnlike reading of a Psychic TV song amid a surreal psychedelic soundscape.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Roots & Crowns is the sound of a pawn shop coming to life after dark, an avant-folk symphony of creaky floorboards and short-circuiting gadgetry. But drowsy-voiced frontman Tim Rutili keeps his cool as everything around him goes bump in the night: On “Pink & Sour,” he unleashes a cavalcade of buzzing guitars and swirling synths over a rumbling West African groove, all while cooing smooth harmonies. And on “The Orchids,” he delivers a hymnlike reading of a Psychic TV song amid a surreal psychedelic soundscape.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
50 Ratings

50 Ratings

bodybydada ,

best album of 2006

I've been listening a lot to the Califone album I bought a couple of weeks ago, and I have to agree with the people who said that this is their best album yet. It is a masterpiece from start to finish, and it's uniquely Califone. I was very impressed by previous efforts, notably cradlesnakes and roomsound, but even those albums were a little uneven. At times, you got a glimpse of Califone's potential. On their new album, called Roots and Crowns, they totally hit the mark.

Like their previous albums, their music is always walking the line between the melodic and the atmospheric. They get labeled "anti-folk" or "post-folk" a lot, sort of like Wilco, but that's only because they are difficult to pigeonhole and people are grasping at straws by doing so. A better way to characterize the music would be to say that they sound like music a thirty-year old man might make in his head if given a diet of only Beatles' Rubber Soul and Revolver, ramen noodles, and film noir. The production is lush, refined and multi-layered. The song writing is remarkable and, at times--like on standout tracks "Chinese Actor," "Black Metal Valentine" and "3 Legged Animals"-- glorious. They use a lot of acoustic guitars, and some strings with a rather subdued and apocolyptic rhythm section. The mood is simple and vague; it's at once haunting and beautiful, much like those Beatles albums and the genre film noir. It is the sound of being both lost and in love and being alright with that.

In short, this is an artful masterpiece. It is the best album that I've heard this year, and it's not even close. Everyone should buy this album whether you're a Califone fan or not. you'll thank me later. I may end up eating my words, but I doubt it.

owlandbear.com ,

Reviewers are calling this Califone's best, and there's a reason

Roots & Crowns cross-breeds Califone's past efforts—like the stunning 'Quicksand/Cradlesnakes' and the frightening 'Heron King Blues'—to create a lovely, dark, coherent whole.

Roots & Crowns is another leap forward, which should be no surprise to fans, as Tim Rutili and Co. continue to break ground with each new release—and astound in the live setting, too.

Roots & Crowns is also addictive and accessable, and will surely draw new listeners into the fray. This is one more masterpiece from the critically-acclaimed Chicago/L.A. collective. Get it, stat!

psdanzig ,

Don't sleep on this

So good, so natural-like the musics always been there and was taken from the air. Great percussion, vocals, imagery. The sounds shift, invent, turning into noisy bits, rusty and beautiful and you're along for the ride.

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