Drummer/vocalist Cody Bowles explains,“Wayward Flyers is an arrangement of acoustic aural vistas that meander from our usual high-octane rock display and into the dark forest. Within this body of work, we’ve taken some interesting decisions to explore parts of our own musicality that we haven’t yet fed under the umbrella of Crown Lands. I got the chance to apply some concepts of West African percussion I learned in University in this one, which was really fun. It’s all about getting to the root of our instruments in making a concise distillation of vulnerability in music form.”
Produced by Justin Meli, Wayward Flyers Volume 1showcases Crown Lands’ artistic versatility with four stripped back original songs plus a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Birds’. “This was an important record for us,” says guitarist Kevin Comeau. “We took the chance to apply a lot of the things we had learned from a big year - getting signed, writing and recording new records, touring the US. We tracked most of the guitar and vocals live off the floor to capture how we really perform and bounce off each other.”
Wayward Flyers Volume 1 arrives alongside a stunning performance video for the EP track ‘The Witching Hour’. The video was shot at a chalet in Uxbridge, Ontario and is the first installment of a series of performance videos from this project, with videos for the band’s cover of Neil Young’s ‘Birds’ and ‘Roving On’ to be released later this month. These videos showcase Crown Lands’ musical artistry and technical aptitude in all of its majestic glory.
Speaking about the first video, the band comment, “The Witching Hour is our spookiest song. We drew inspiration from the Salem Witch Trials. It’s about how White Christian men used fear and misogyny under the veil of religion to prosecute and murder innocent intelligent women in the 17th century. It’s terrifying to see that a lot of those fears are still deeply rooted in society to this day. People in charge continue to suppress of feminine spirituality into the modern age.”
The record is available to stream and download on all streaming platforms. Fans can also pre-order the stunning 10-inch record featuring EP art designed by Quinn Henderson, which stays true to the Crown Lands aesthetic: “a celebration of nature - an ode to our home” describes Universal Music Canada’s Creative Director Andy Slater, who has worked closely with Crown Lands to develop their visuals. Wayward Flyers Volume 1is sure to be a favourite of any record collection. Pre-order the vinyl here.
Known for their energetic live shows, Crown Lands spent the early part of their career performing, starting by booking themselves shows across south-western Ontario and then landing opening slots for major rock acts like Jack White, Primus and Rival Sons. Like many bands, Crown Lands were challenged by the global pandemic, having to postpone their support slot across Europe with Grammy award-nominated sister duo Larkin Poe as well as their homecoming headlining show in Toronto. Crown Lands remain positive while they wait for the day they can play to fans again, with Comeau commenting, “This is an important time to remember that we are all in this together, and we are going through a collective trauma. Although our doors and our borders remain closed, our minds must remain open.”
After meeting six years ago and bonding over their shared obsession with Rush, Bowles and Comeau became“instant best friends”and started jamming together in a local barn, switching up instruments, but never straying from a two-piece set-up. Crown Lands have released two EPs Mantra (2016) and Rise Over Run (2017). Making music that brings together a range of influences from folk and blues to psychedelic to prog rock, and drawing on their own intense personal chemistry, Crown Lands are a startlingly fresh jolt of energy.
The group’s name is indicative of their musical ambitions: ‘Crown Land’ is territorial area belonging to the monarch—or, as Bowles (whose own heritage is half Mi’kmaq, an indigenous tribe from Nova Scotia) puts it, “Crown Land is stolen land and we are reclaiming it.” Crown Lands are on a mission to represent a sense of empowerment for marginalized communities through their music and the weighty subject matter of their lyrics. “People are going to listen to you, so you may as well say something that matters,” says Comeau.
Wayward Flyers Volume 1 Tracklisting: