Crack of Dawn release new LP
Producing an album that feels as real, vulnerable and as intimate as seeing the band live and in person is no easy feat, but I must say that after giving Crack of Dawn’s new collection of soul balladry in Spotlight a few spins, this Canadian juggernaut definitely knows how to make it look easy. When I was listening to the title track from Spotlight, I couldn’t help but get completely lost in the verse and gentle guitar and bass dueling going on in the background, soon being transported to a dark hole in the wall club somewhere, and Crack of Dawn is up on stage before me, owning the crowd, owning the soul and energy of the room with every burst of sound from their instruments. This wasn’t an isolated incident; in all ten of the songs that Spotlight has to offer, each is a unique, up close and personal glimpse of the band’s creative depth, emotional capacities, and shared passion for the craft that they’ve come to master so well.
A big part of the reason why Crack of Dawn is so adept at connecting with their audience on such a personal level is directly related to their overall compositional approach, which puts as much value in the textures rendered by the music itself as it does the lyrics that are used to convey the narrative of a particular song. The two are mutually exclusive and work together in perfect synchronicity to make Spotlight, and really everything this unit has shown us thus far in their careers, not only a fun listen, but a very intellectually stimulating one at that. Their method of attack recalls a lot of old school legends like Al Green and Parliament, but at the same time is completely 21st century when you consider their excellent use of the studio itself as an independent instrument that can be used to set the mood of not just a single verse, but the entirety of Spotlight as a single piece of art.
I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, this kind of music goes so well with the carefree, let the hair down sort of spirit that is synonymous with a relaxing summer afternoon. While Crack of Dawn are a good pick musically any time of year, there’s something about these big, funky grooves that make them as irresistible as a blazing beach bonfire that burns long into the night and creates more magic than we ever expect it to. There’s a couple of slow moments in Spotlight, but overwhelmingly, this is an album that was designed to get us moving and keep us moving all year long, celebrating those good vibes day and night. Personally I can’t think of an argument against this being one of the most positive and relevant narratives for a group of artists to detail in their work, especially with all the chaos in the world right now. I highly recommend music enthusiasts give this group a close look as their aspiring career continues to unfold before our very eyes and ears.