CD review: A Crowd of Small Adventures’ new ‘Blood’ EP

Wilcox and his Crowd are back with five new tracks.
Photo: Spencer Burton

Four stars

A Crowd of Small Adventures Blood

Life had gone on for 7-year-old Vegas band A Crowd of Small Adventures—until it almost didn’t. Last year, guitarist Sean Villaros survived a massive stroke, though he remains unable to rejoin the band. As such, the title of Crowd’s second EP almost seems like a tribute to the members’ slowly rebounding friend, referencing both the stroke and the kinship they share with him. But the versatile metaphor might also explain the vitality contained in these five songs, and the heart used to play them.

Blood isn’t as tight as the band’s 2010 full-length, A Decade in X-Rays, which is to also say it’s less contained, most notably in its liberation from rhythmic consistency. Opener “Youngest Blood” deviates from ACOSA’s usual four-on-the-floor anchor, only to return to it with gusto during its climax—Megan Wingerter simultaneously matching Tony Sermeno’s drum gallop with her violin—before reprising the breakbeat. “Broken Season” boasts a similar structure and chamber-music inspiration, starting with a waltz that evolves toward simpler cadences. “Her Radiating Heart” is a rare Crowd slowburner that—given its atmospheric feel and arpeggiated keys—is Killers-esque, though singer Jackson Wilcox employs restrained passion where Brandon Flowers might have opted for histrionics.

Wilcox actually saves the high notes for proper rocker “In the Forest Jerry Killed 1000 Wolves” and shames his Vegas peers. Blood ends with “Fire,” its tribal pulse and melodic swells building to another resounding apex—and concluding another winning effort. (Full disclosure: I donated money to this album’s Kickstarter campaign to receive a vinyl copy.)

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