The Adelaide Crows are a force to be reckoned with, defeating the Western Bulldogs in a hard-fought semi-final on Saturday night… I mean, releasing a killer EP. Forgive me if that happens throughout this piece – it’s a little confusing having a band named after a football team. I’ll admit the name had me ready to dismiss the band outright, but last weekend I found myself in the band room of Abbostford’s Yarra Hotel, drawn by some of the most emphatic live drumming I had ever heard. I had stumbled into The Adelaide Crows release of their EP Strained Conversations to a packed venue.
Strained Conversations is The Adelaide Crows’ second EP, a follow up to their 2013 debut Ornithology.
The Melbourne band are a 4-7 piece (depending on the night). The core consists of: Owen Virtue (lead singer, rhythm guitarist), Kirk Ballantyne (lead guitarist), Owen Bennett (drums, guitar and vocals), and Robin Leppitt (bass guitar); each of these features on the EP. The Crows also have three part-time members: Will Bracks (part-time keys player), Ellie Vallier (part-time saxophone player) and Daniel Parsons-Jones (part-time trumpet player).
Drummer Owen Bennett was the stand-out performance of the night; not only did he completely slay the drums, but he also took over lead guitar and vocals during The Love Affair (from the Ornithology EP), swapping with lead guitarist Kirk Ballantyne for the song. I have seen musicians change out their instruments, but have never before seen the guitarist and drummer entirely swap roles. Totally unique, totally cool.
Being such football lovers as to name their band after a team, you would imagine the band were quite hyped after the footy Crows’ victory, so it was unfortunate that two of the band members are actually Bulldogs supporters. Despite the disappointment that these two must have felt after their flag prospects were cut short, the band was able to channel a higher love for the music they create, sticking together to produce a wicked set.
The Adelaide Crows showcase everything that we loved about Aussie ‘90s alt-rock blended with a bit of Paul Kelly. You can also hear the influences of Dan Kelly, the laid back sound of Dick Diver, and the heavier backdrop as in Jebediah. The second track on their EP, Newstart, is soulful and catchy and best shows their Paul Kelly influence. The line “Baby I’m looking for a new start/Puts pressure on my little heart” sung in Owen Virtue’s melodic tones is particularly reminiscent of Paul Kelly’s Won’t You Come Round.
The band’s impressive performance turned what started as just another Saturday night footy into a truly memorable evening. Fans will surely hope for a similarly stellar performance by the band’s namesake in the footy final.
Check out The Adelaide Crows’ EP on their Bandcamp.