Wednesday 29 January 2020

'Lowdown' by Crowd Company

Crowd Company unveil their highly-anticipated third album 'Lowdown' through their label home of Vintage League Music.

The British collective have become firm staples within the UK's funk & soul lineage with two standout albums already under their belt in 'Now or Never' (2014) and 'Stone & Sky' (2017).  'Lowdown' however looks set to be the project that will see the collective ascend to even greater heights.

Crowd Company's tendency for three-part harmonies have always contributed strongly to the band's distinct sound - founder Robert Fleming really delivers something special when he shares vocal duties with the sublime brilliance of Joanne Marshall and Esther Dee.  And backed by Fleming on guitar, Claudio Corona (organ & keyboards), Emil Engstrom (bass) and Robin Lowrey (drums), the end-result really does produce a thrilling and incomparable aesthetic.  With the masterful players involved, Crowd Company have become adept at fluidly and effortlessly transforming the sonic soundscape at will - when they want to they'll take listeners on a full funk workout like 'Express 76', they'll produce Northern Soul-esque gems like 'Stories', dabble in their typical style of jazzy psychadelia as in instrumental closer 'Orbital' and deliver blissful 70s soul numbers like 'Brooklyn Summer'.

'Lowdown' has much more to boast about though - the inclusion of horn players Ryan Zoidis on sax and Eric Bloom on trumpet from the premier US funk & soul band Lettuce, who appear throughout the album, serves as a real treat, as does the return of the band's frequent collaborator and producer Alan Evans.  Fresh off the success of his own Alan Evans Trio album of last year ('The Wild Root'), Evans has become somewhat intrinsically linked to Crowd Company since his contributions to their 'Now or Never' debut.  Six years later, the founder of Vintage League Music now shares those label duties with Crowd Company's Fleming and Evans has tackled production on the band's last two albums.  It's become a genuinely exciting union that will hopefully lead to many more successes for the Vintage League label.

Crowd Company have crafted an excellent project that stands tall amongst their catalogue of wonderful music releases.  Their legacy as one of the absolute finest contemporary funk & soul acts working today is as assured now as it could ever be and as they declare on the album's opening track, "Get on board to the new direction".

As part of the Blue-in-Green:PODCAST, we were really fortunate to have caught up with Rob Fleming last year to discuss the band and 'Lowdown', and you can revisit that conversation below:

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