Dearest, Crown
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Dearest, Crown

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The best kept secret in music


"DEAREST, CROWN "The Path To Going Down" - Lather Records [April 2005]"

Audiences are ready for Dearest, Crown after the recent spate of bands that use the folk-rock template as a springboard into indie rock darlinghood. I'd say they're ready to be embraced by the hipster fans of The Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, and Okkervil River. There seems to be an explosion of bands who have grabbed some inspiration from the Neil Young 60s and fed it through an ironicist's brain. DC are in a more buoyant mood on this album. Tempos are quicker, songs are more straightforward. Their new album starts with a yearning ballad called "Airplane" played with mandolin and maybe accordion (?) that reflects on leaving behind a girl, yearning for death over the open sea, and feeling "…swaddled in the blanket of darkness." An airplane is one of the paths of the title. They carry on in that joyously morbid vein with a seque into "The Last Great Shipwreck," in which he uses the word "immured," a word I just saw for the first time last week in a Neal Stephenson novel. Erudite. Check this lyric, "…the sunflower rows unfurl with Fibonacci in the swirls…" DC's Sean Harrasser reads a lot and his head is an academic alternate universe where mall punk doesn't exist. They create some beautiful and fun songs, like "Virgin Spring," an uptempo mountain cabin dance number. With his accomplices, Ryan Martin, Leif Webb, Todd Steinberg, and Ario Lynch, strange, Victorian shanteys and dirges are spliced with modern art-folk. Some songs you could picture being sung in a miners' camp during the Gold Rush. Or sung by sailors leaving the shores of the homeland, never knowing if they'll return. It's hard for me to figure out a way to tell you to go get this record in an oblique way, so just go get it. DC are great, original, and pulse with an American soul that has fled the cities and lives only up in the hinterlands, waiting for the collapse of modern music for its chance to reinvigorate rock and roll with the harmonies and rhythms and chords of our forgotten heritage. --- Leeds 8/11 - Culture

"Dearest, Crown"

The Path To Going Down (Lather Records)
Reviewed by Erick Mertz


Listening to Dearest Crown's newest album The Path to Going Down is like that much needed affirmation of everything good that's happening somewhere, anywhere you can look forward to being at any time. Few albums can claim such recuperative powers upon first listen; fewer successfully balance between the vulnerability of a jaded lover and a longshoreman's pomposity contained here. Hailing from Portland Oregon's fertile Americana scene, Dearest Crown is that armada's five man musical clipper ship, the one built for speed.
While 2002's effort A Single Star, Bigger than the Universe contained some of the truly glimmering songs of that year in local music, The Path to Going Down is stronger, a more playful and complete album. The variety here, from foot stomping maritime send-ups like "The Last Great Shipwreck" and "Devil's Peak Lookout," to astoundingly simple ballads like "I'll Be OK," makes it sure to be one that never grows tiresome. The recordings fly by the seat of their pants, but somehow remain intact on the strength of Sean Harrasser's vocals. He's young, but sounds long in the tooth, like someone who spends their spare time telling tales. He is the complete package, with a range of characters between drunken pub lothario to heartbroken troubadour. Harrasser's not a lone talent as his backing - particularly Leif Webb's cello and accordion accompaniments - makes Dearest Crown that secret local gem of a band that threatens to be so much more.

[Pick this up at CDBaby.]

© 2004 - Erick Mertz

- Cosmik Debris

"Dearest, Crown"

Almost every review of Dearest, Crown's last disc, A Single Star, expressed amazement at the quartet's lack of percussion. However, for The Path to Going Down, Dearest, Crown have picked up a drummer, Ario Lynch! Lynch can be heard pounding away on tracks like "I Carry Your Spirit" and "Virgin Spring"; his addition adds a touch of traditionalism and a tighter, more rock-structured sound.
Dearest, Crown has an obvious affection for Neutral Milk Hotel -- opener "Airplane" shows off the sort of lo-fi textures for which NMH was renowned. They also cook up a number of chamber-pop moments that are reminiscent of The Decemberists -- "The Last Great Shipwreck" boasts some flagrant accordion use, along with a banjo and a mandolin. The layers blend into a defined texture, giving each instrument its own space.

Singer/songwriter Sean Harrasser is the brains behind The Path to Going Down, and much like Jeff Mangum, his lyrical content is obscure and paranoid. Harrasser has surreal ideals that focus mainly on death; he's constantly fearful of the end of the world, and of dying alone, not to mention his obsession with Bryology (a branch of plant science that focuses on mosses, liverworts and hornworts), bergschrunds (something about glaciers), and Euclid (He was born around 325 BC and did a lot of math). Only this kind of quirky academe could come up with a song title like "Zeta(s) = 0 Only if s Lies on the Critical Line s = 0.5 + bi". However the academic vein -- more of an artery, really -- that pulses through The Path dehumanizes the group; they turn into a machine, printing out line after line of syntax on music sheets. Harrasser's voice is like another broken machine -- it wavers, cracks and generally seems uncertain.

It all adds up to a unified vision of Harrasser: a guy with thick-rimmed glasses, most likely wearing a plaid shirt, who continually updates his will, washes his hands and reads academic journals. This might be the image, but the question of authenticity still arises. Where the hell did this guy come from? It really is a puzzling endeavor, but one worth taking -- especially if you know how to do all that sine, cosine shit.

-- Ryan Humm
- Splendid (


2002 - "A Single Star, Bigger Than The Universe" LP
2004 - "The Path To Going Down" LP

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