One of many bands that burst forth from a creative and varied early-90s Bristol scene, Crescent started out as a noisier, lo-fi style group, but have changed course rather dramatically, landing as a sort of Americana-inspired folk group on their latest effort. Little Waves is largely super-mellow and a bit dour, with slight hints of damaged psych fraying the edges a bit and giving it a decidedly off-kilter feel that fits in nicely alongside groups like The Pastels, Duster, early Hood, and even Movietone.
The reference to the latter group isn't surprising, as on this iteration Crescent actually shares members with that group. Like that groups last release The Sand And The Stars, there's a bit more organic instrumentation here, and it's been recorded with an open-air quality that in places sounds like the group has been plopped down in the countryside somewhere. Album-titled "Little Waves" opens the release and sets the stage nicely with a soft acoustic guitar / organ track coated with a warm tape hiss and the breathy vocals of lead man Matt Jones. It unfolds very slowly and surely (like most songs on the release), and other little rattles and sounds crop up in the track like organic ephemera.
"Cup" follows, and moves along with the same sort of sleepwalking feel, despite adding drums. As with everything they do, instrumentation (and even a couple soft surges) are as subtle as it gets, with what sounds like quiet phonograph orchestral loops providing one particularly lovely moment. Even the one real punctuation on the album (arriving about halfway through the slow-burner of "Drift") only lasts about thirty seconds and is little more than some vigorously struck vibraphones and drums that melt down as quickly as they build up.
If you're expecting any big releases or blowouts, you're likely to be disappointed here, because this ten track release is honestly one of the most steady and subdued albums I've heard in some time. It's one of those releases that almost completely relies on your state of mind when putting it in, because it's not the sort of thing that's powerful enough to jump out and demand attention. If you're looking for an intimate little release that's warm throughout and full of touching moments that are very human, Little Waves will likely hit you in just the right spot.