KRESTOVSKY - Song Of The Month Club

Krestovsky - Song Of The Month Club

7 songs
22:14 minutes
***** ***
(self-released)

Bandpage

I discovered Krestovsky about ten years ago with their album The Great Plains, a very ambitious effort of lo-fi indie folk with Americana flavour. The band consists mainly of Andy Chrest plus probably a bunch of musicians, but thatís where we enter the twilight zone. Despite being in the hyper-connected year 2016, Krestovsky manage to keep their online profile to a minimum. Thereís somewhere an old Myspace page haunting the depths of the World Wide Web, but you might look in vain for an official homepage or even a presence on the ubiquitous Facebook. In fact, it seems as if Krestovsky limit their virtual life to the Free Music Archive where you can download a lot of their albums, singles and EPs for free. Oh, and donít mistake this instance Krestovsky with the same named techno artist, or you might get a rude awakening.

The latest effort by Krestovsky is a seven track mini album titled Song Of The Month Club. I didnít expect too much, to be honest, because all too often, free arts Ė be it music, books, whatever Ė is subpar when it comes to quality. With Krestovsky you get hardly any liner notes, and the cover artwork could have been drawn by a two-year old. So imagine my surprise when I first listened to Song Of The Month Club. The opener Local Time begins rather typically, with acoustic guitar and Andyís mellow indie voice. I was just intrigued by the very clear production as I expected something more artisanal and cheaper sounding. It doesnít take long for a wind section that enter the song, and all of a sudden the song gets a melancholic turn not unlike some of the better stuff by an Elvis Costello. The superb songwriting also helps to make this probably the bandís or projectís best song so far. The following Deleted Scences is much mellower, but the addition of a soft piano, possibly a saxophone (played at a very low volume) and female backing vocals make sure that this is more than mere introspective balladry. Threadbare is another ballad, probably that is what Mr Chrest excels at best. The folk influenced chorus even adds a certain Seventies atmosphere to the music, a little like Lindisfarne did back then. Wax Parade is another slow piece played on acoustic guitar and piano and reminded me, thanks to its sparse, fragile beauty, a little of the late Syd Barrett. The next two tracks, Silence In Stereo and Spain, are more upbeat, at least in the context of a Krestovsky album, and even contain some electric guitar and drums. The concluding If Not You is unfortunately unlistenable, no matter if you download or stream this track, there are just too many MP3 artefacts that will hurt your ears. Maybe the upload of a correct version might be in order.

It's been eight years since I last reviewed music by Krestovsky, and maybe I had just forgotten how brilliant of a songwriter Andy Chrest can be. Song Of The Month Club may only be an EP, but it is a small masterpiece of well-produced lo-fi (ok that sounds like an oxymoron), mixing elements from folk, indie and Americana in a heart-warming stew that should have no hard time finding its admirers. Although that goal would be much easier if Krestovsky were a little more ambitious when it comes to online presence and marketing. Like this, they risk remaining a well-hidden gem in an ocean of too often too predictable artists.

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