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Album Review: Crooked Flower’s Into the Light

This psychedelic quartet’s fourth release creates a hazy headspace for itself.

Kevin Ashley

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Another day, another album review. This time, it’s Crooked Flower’s Into the Light. Based on the album art, I suspect it’s some kind of psychedelic rock, maybe garage rock, but we’ll see.

Crooked Flower was founded in 2014 in Berkeley, California, and consists of four members: Angelina Dang (vocals, keyboards, guitars), Dan Ingberman (guitars), Daniel Erik (bass), and Patrick Shields (drums and percussion). In a productive two-year period – 2016 to 2017 – the band churned out 3 albums, End of the Highway, The Moon Anyway, and On My Mind. Their fourth album, Into the Light, released on February 17th, 2019.

This release date was specifically chosen for the album, since 17th of October last year was the date that marijuana was legalized in Canada. Several of the album’s songs – namely “Search Warrant Blue”, “Freedom”, and “10 Million Seeds” – are about the War on Drugs, so it makes sense that they would chose a date dealing with the topic.

On to the songs! First, we have “Dancing”. Opening up with a mildly tribal drum beat and a guitar tone that reminds me of Kraan’s “Silver Buildings”, it already sounds pretty good. Angelina’s voice adds a mildly poppy touch, and repeats the line “I’m dancing, dancing end of the night (or is it line?)” The multiple guitars weave in and out, giving a nice psychedelic atmosphere. Pretty decent start so far.

Second, we have “Search Warrant Blue”. This opens up with a super trippy guitar line and some kind of wobbly effect, maybe keyboards, that heavily reminds me of Liquid Sound Company’s “Mesmerizing Eye”. This turns into a mildly stoner -rockish riff, while Angelina’s vocals carry a mournful tone. Around 2:56, a very nice guitar solo takes over, with plenty of psychedelic effects and tambourine in the background. Great song!

“Freedom” starts off immediately with a mildly country-rock riff. The psychedelic sounds are a bit more laid back in this one, letting the guitar and drums lead. This one is more along the lines of stoner rock, rather than the psychedelic rock/pop of the previous two songs. It’s also the shortest, and a bit too basic compared to the previous two.

The basic percussion beat in “Let You Go”, brings along a calming guitar line and psychedelic effects, back again to the rock/pop feel. There’s a nice psychedelia segment starting at 1:56, but it’s only 10 seconds long. I feel that instead of repeating the chorus and guitar riffs at the end, it should have stayed in this segment. Still a good song, though.

“Around and Around” is a light-feeling rocker, again putting the psychedelic effects on the back end. This one actually feels a little generic, compared to the effects-laden soundscapes or hard stoner riffs of the previous four songs. This song has it’s own music video.

“10 Million Seeds” breaks the album’s mold with a fantastic dub. The guitar licks, bass, percussion, and effects create a masterful psychedelic atmosphere, bringing images of pot-smoke hazy rooms and LSD visions. Angelina’s psych-pop vocals match the vibe perfectly. Around 3:34, trippy guitar notes take the forefront, making this my favorite song on the album.

“Falling” brings back the rocking feel of “Around and Around”, but with the psychedelic effects and pop-lightness of “Dancing”. There’s another good solo at 2:07, cementing this as my third favorite.

“Own World” circles back to the calming psychedelic pop-rock of “Dancing”, finishing the album on a good note. Opening with some piano, it meanders into a slow-rocking, bass-driven beat, while the guitar takes on a dub-like expression.

Crooked Flower’s Into the Light was a pretty good psychedelic pop-rock release, creating a haze-filled headspace. There were some small flaws, which were mainly personal preference, but generally it’s a solid album that those into psychedelic and 60’s styled music should like.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Kevin is a graduate from Central Washington University, where he was awarded a Bachelors degree in Professional and Creative Writing. He currently lives in Silverdale, Washington, where he explores new food and drink, goes to concerts, and works on personal projects.

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