Through our 2 EPs, we’ve begun to develop a style that fuses all the music that excites us with it’s intensity – there’s some punked-up-folk-tune parts, some whirlwind fiddling from Jess, and some intense cinematic moments.
The thing that links these aspects together is the way we wrote them – each tells a wordless story (mostly wordless, anyway) and we often arranged the music thinking of this narrative. The traditional roots of our music combined with these stories and modern influences gave us Overgrown Tales – like finding a folk tale deep in the forest, rooted in tradition but with the newest of shoots (and a few thorns).
After pre-production at our rehearsal space in Sydney’s summer heat wave, we flew into Chicago’s biggest blizzard to record the album with Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studios. Albini has been an influence of ours for years for his DIY attitude, raw rock recordings (see Nirvana’s In Utero or any Shellac album) and his organic acoustic work (The Dirty Three’s Ocean Songs, Joanna Newsom’s Ys). These two sides made Electrical Audio the logical choice for us – we were able to capture the raw sound of acoustic instruments at full throttle, without sacrificing the organic warmth that we love.
As well as expanding on our previous sound, there’s also some new elements – 3 of the tracks feature prominent vocals, and half the album is helped by the lush sound of guest cellist Russell Rolen. Jess also debuts her most medieval looking instrument, the nyckelharpa, a Swedish keyed fiddle. The whoops and yells that Gordon makes when we play live got captured, too.
Shooting the album cover was a big project – no CGI here! – after convincing our friend Dave (of Dave Carr’s Fabulous Contraption) to model, minatures director Jack McGrath directed a team of volunteers moulding rocks, creating infuriating little trees and making plaster casts of Dave’s body. The cover was photographed by Yanni Kronenberg, with Dave pulling off the near-impossible feat of sitting still for many hours. We’re sure you’ll agree the results look fantastic.
So, we hope you enjoy Overgrown Tales. We’re very proud of the whole package – the writing, the performances, the sounds and the digipak they come in. There’s a huge list of people we’d like to thank in the cover and we’ll put that on the site soon. In the meantime, to quote our friend Hugh, “let the tales take root and thirstily ascend through the canopy of the mind.”
PS If you want to help us out, please leave a review of the album on iTunes (or your preferred provider), our Facebook page, or email it to us via info [AT] crookedfiddleband.com
Check out the making of the album art here